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Home » Sports » Rafael Nadal Appointed Saudi Tennis Federation Ambassador to Boost Tennis in The Kingdom
Rafael Nadal Appointed Saudi Tennis Federation Ambassador to Boost Tennis in The Kingdom
Rafael Nadal Appointed Saudi Tennis Federation Ambassador to Boost Tennis in The Kingdom

Rafael Nadal, the Spanish tennis legend, has been appointed as the ambassador of The Saudi Tennis Federation to boost tennis growth in the Kingdom.

Nadal, a 22-time Grand Slam winner, will dedicate time in Saudi Arabia each year to nurture young talent and promote the sport.

Plans include establishing a Rafa Nadal Academy and developing tennis programs for Saudi youth. 

The move aligns with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals to increase sports participation in the Kingdom.

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Ambassador for Saudi Tennis

Image Credit Saudi Tennis Federation

Nadal, a distinguished figure in the world of tennis with an impressive record of 22 Grand Slam victories, has committed to spend part of each year in Saudi Arabia as part of his ambassadorial role. His primary aim is to train young talents and stimulate interest in tennis across the Kingdom.

“Everywhere you look in Saudi Arabia, you can see growth and progress, and I’m excited to be part of that,” said Nadal.

The Spanish athlete’s dedication to the sport and his intention to contribute to its growth in Saudi Arabia reflects his passion for tennis and his commitment to sharing it with future generations.

The Rafa Nadal Academy

Image Credit Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar

As part of Nadal’s efforts in his new role, there are plans to establish a dedicated Rafa Nadal Academy in the Kingdom. This academy will serve as a center of excellence, nurturing talent and providing professional training for those aspiring to make a mark in tennis.

The academy is expected to play a crucial role in furthering Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals, including a significant emphasis on boosting sports participation nationwide.

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030

Image Credit ATP Tour

The Saudi government’s Vision 2030 reform agenda aims to transform the Kingdom into a prominent tourism and business hub. It seeks to diversify the nation’s economy from fossil fuels, emphasizing sports, tourism, and entertainment sectors.

Nadal’s appointment as the ambassador for the Saudi Tennis Federation is part of this broader reform agenda. It reflects the Saudi government’s commitment to making sports an integral part of daily life, especially for the Kingdom’s youth.

“I will continue to play tennis as I love the game. But beyond playing, I aspire to aid in the sport’s expansion worldwide. Saudi Arabia shows real potential in this regard,” stated Nadal.

Tennis in Saudi Arabia

Image Credit Saudi Tennis Federation

In recent years, tennis has gained significant momentum in Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom hosted its inaugural ATP Tour event, the Next Gen ATP Finals, in Jeddah. The year concluded with exhibition matches featuring top players like Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka.

This growth is set to continue with the five-year deal to host the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah, further cementing Saudi Arabia’s place in the international tennis calendar.

Tennis For All Program

Image Credit Saudi Sports for All Federation

Under the Vision 2030 initiative, sports participation in Saudi Arabia has experienced significant growth, reaching nearly 50 percent for both men and women, a threefold increase since 2015. 

The number of sports federations has also tripled during this period, with the Saudi Tennis Association (STA) being a notable example of the advancements being achieved.

Image Credit Saudi Sports for All Federation

In 2023, approximately 30,000 children in the kingdom initiated their tennis journey through the ‘Tennis For All’ program, a collaboration between the Saudi Tennis Federation (STF) and the Saudi Sports For All Federation. 

This initiative successfully integrated tennis into the physical education curriculum of 90 schools. Plans are underway to expand the program to 200 schools in 2024 and 400 schools in 2025.

The Growth of Tennis in Saudi Arabia

Image Credit ATP Tour

The growth of tennis in Saudi Arabia is evident in the surge of tennis clubs, which have increased by 146 percent since 2019, totaling 177 clubs. 

Over the past four years, the number of registered players has risen by 46 percent, reaching 2,300 players, and the under-14 category has experienced a 100 percent increase, growing from 500 to over 1,000 players. 

Furthermore, the STF has hosted 40 national tournaments annually, including three ITF Juniors tournaments in the past year.

Nadal’s Commitment to the Cause

Image Credit Saudi Tennis Federation

While Nadal continues to dominate tennis, he is also keen on contributing to the sport’s growth beyond the court. His recent visit to a junior tennis clinic in Riyadh underlines his commitment to fostering regional tennis development.

The Spaniard’s dedication to training, commitment to every shot, and how he fights for every point are values the Saudi Tennis Federation hopes to instill in their future stars.

Saudi Spearheading Sports Growth

Image Credit EPA

Rafael Nadal, the Spanish Tennis legend, is all set to spearhead tennis growth in Saudi Arabia as the newly appointed ambassador for the Saudi Tennis Federation.

As Saudi Arabia continues to invest in sports and youth engagement, the appointment of a global icon like Nadal is a testament to its commitment to this cause. It’s a significant step towards achieving the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals and transforming the nation into a hub for sports and entertainment.

Image Credit The PIF

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has also launched SRJ Sports Investments to support the growth of sports in the kingdom and abroad by creating and hosting major global sports events.

Image Credit FIFA

Moreover, Saudi Arabia has been confirmed to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup. Hosting the World Cup aligns with Saudi Arabia’s vision of becoming a global hub for sports in line with Vision 2030. 

The country’s sports minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki bin Faisal, referred to the bid as an “important and natural step in our journey as a country passionate about football.”

Inspiring the Next Generation

Image Credit Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar

Rafael Nadal’s appointment as the ambassador for the Saudi Tennis Federation marks a significant milestone in the Kingdom’s sports development journey.

His experience and dedication to the sport are expected to play a pivotal role in promoting tennis in Saudi Arabia, and his efforts will inspire the next generation of tennis stars in the Kingdom.

Keep Reading: Saudi Arabia Set To Host The First Esports World Cup in 2024

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