RIYADH: The Diriyah Tennis Cup makes a return to Saudi Arabia next month with some of the world’s leading players set to take part.
The second tournament, which takes place from Dec. 8 to 10, will once again be hosted in Diriyah, the UNESCO World Heritage Site on the outskirts of Riyadh.
The $3 million invitational event, which is played outdoors in a purpose-built arena, will host a field of 12 players in both singles and doubles across the three days.
It will be the first time the Kingdom has hosted a professional doubles event. Its unique format will see losers from the opening day’s singles start their own doubles tournament on day two.
World No. 5 Daniil Medvedev, who won the inaugural event in 2019, returns to defend his title to complete a year which saw the 2021 US Open champion become world No. 1 for the first time.
Olympic champion Alexander Zverev makes his comeback from injury at Diriyah after being sidelined following this year’s French Open at Roland-Garros.
“I’m happy that I’ll finally be back on court after my injury,” said Zeverev.
“It’s even nicer that I can make my comeback before the official start of the 2023 season. I think the Diriyah Tennis Cup offers a very good opportunity for it and I’m looking forward to being in Saudi Arabia for the first time.”
World No. 7 Andrey Rublev is another top addition, alongside British No. 1 Cameron Norrie.
Rublev is a three-time ATP winner this year, while world No. 14 Norrie has followed up a breakthrough 2021 season with two ATP titles in 2022, and a run to the Wimbledon semi-finals.
Former world No. 3 Dominic Thiem is also taking part in the event, along with firm fan favorite from 2019, Stan Wawrinka.
“It was a fantastic atmosphere at the first edition of the Diriyah Tennis Cup in 2019,” said Wawrinka.
“That’s why I’m excited to be playing in front of the Saudi fans again this December. I’m sure they will enjoy world-class tennis and an inspiring event.”
The Diriyah Tennis Cup forms part of the Diriyah Season, a four-month celebration of sporting, entertainment and cultural events.
Saudi Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said: “We are extremely pleased to welcome world-class tennis back to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“The 2019 edition was a massive success and welcomed thousands of passionate fans from across the country and region.
“The great sport of tennis boasts a strong fan base and participation numbers amongst our men, women, boys and girls in all corners of the Kingdom.
“As a global home for world sports, it brings us great pride to add an event featuring some of the world’s biggest stars to our existing roster of year-round events.
“We welcome the world to Saudi Arabia and look forward to witnessing a high level of competitive action.”