The likes of Nick Kyrgios, Cameron Norrie and Stan Wawrinka played the two-day event and world No 3 Daniil Medvedev was crowned the champion after three rounds of singles play. But the tournament drew controversy, with Amnesty International UK condemning Brit Norrie’s decision to play.
Ahead of the Diriyah Tennis Cup last year, Felix Jakens, Amnesty International UK’s Head of Priority Campaigns, said: “We were never going to be telling people like Cameron Norrie where they should or shouldn’t play tennis, but by appearing in Diriyah, Cameron should realise he’s effectively being deliberately hired in to take part in the latest jamboree of Saudi sportswashing.”
And there could be more outcry if top players – who the United Cup attracts – descend on Saudi Arabia at the start of next season for the team event. With minimal 250-point tournaments played on the tour outside of the United Cup, many could have no choice but to play the mixed-gender tournament if they want any matches before the Australian Open.