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Are the ATP and WTA Tours Getting Ready to Ditch Slams for $2 Billion? Madrid Open Holds Key for Final Talks

Published 03/16/2024, 12:54 PM EDT

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Saudi Arabia’s take-it-or-leave-it deal for the tennis world has left everyone in a situation of suspense. The country recently offered a high-paying opportunity for the sport which is not only targeted to take control over things but to establish an equally rewarding setup for both the ATP and WTA. As the clock is ticking for the limited-time deal, will the authorities hold their long-built ground or not?

The tours are currently involved in discussions regarding the $2 billion deal that Saudi Arabia offered. While the whole system stands on the verge of a big pivot, Madrid is set to be the stage for a conclusion.

Madrid to be the deciding ground for tennis’ future over Saudia Arabia’s $2 Billion deal

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Tennis could be on the brink of a major transformation as the ATP and WTA Tours consider merging their businesses. With a significant $3.84 billion valuation on the table offered by Saudi Arabia, the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), is highly likely to steal the deal. The merger proposal, backed by tennis legends like Roger Federer and Billie Jean King, is targeted to create a unified “Ventures’ company.

While day-to-day operations would remain separate at the moment, the tours are expected to align more closely if the agreement proceeds. While the country has offered a time-limited deal, further decisions are going to be held in Madrid, where both Masters 1000 tournaments are now held.

If the merger goes through with the acceptance of both the ATP and WTA tours, future revenues would be evenly split between the two bodies, expected to potentially address concerns about income disparities. According to the current data, the WTA earns £90 million, while the ATP brings in £238 million annually.

As the next bid is set to be six weeks from now, it remains to be seen if the governing bodies retain their positions with the Premier Tennis tour or decide to form an alliance with the newly introduced Saudi Arabia tour. Either way, legendary coach Brad Gilbert has some words for the Grand Slams.

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Brad Gilbert’s wake-up call for grand slams

While every entity in the tennis world has a different perspective in reflection of Saudi Arabia’s deal, Coco Gauff’s coach Brad Gilbert came forward to express his thoughts too. While the grand slams currently stand in a situation to up their game in order to retain the power that they have possessed for a long time, Brad alarmed the concerned ones to wake up at the moment.

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“Listen, if they don’t have this offer right now from Saudi Arabia, maybe this doesn’t wake up the grand slams or wake up the other tournaments to get something going,” Gauff’s coach said, in a recent interview with CNBC. As the situation currently demands a big decision, be it in terms of prize money or any other retrieving factor, it still remains to be seen if the authorities come forward with a relevant solution.

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Written by:

Akshay Kapoor

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Akshay Kapoor, a tennis writer at EssentiallySports, excels in crafting pieces that set new trends. His analytical skills riding on the back of certification in Digital Marketing help inject in-depth research as he covers the business undertakings of Tennis stars. Akshay’s articles touch the entire tennis spectrum, from iconic figures like Djokovic and emerging talents such as Holger Rune and Coco Gauff.
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Edited by:

Arunima Bhanot