Kasatkina 'Given Guarantees' About Safety From Saudi Amid Possible WTA Finals Qualification

Kasatkina 'Given Guarantees' About Safety From Saudi Amid Possible WTA Finals Qualification

by Zachary Wimer

Daria Kasatkina has been given 'safety guarantees' regarding a possible WTA Finals participation in Saudi Arabia.

The Russian is one of the few openly gay players in the tennis world. She is also one of the best players in the world with a solid chance of making the WTA Finals later this year.

Although usually a topic that many wouldn't want to discuss without any valid reason, her sexuality is important because the WTA Finals later this year will be held in Saudi Arabia.

Unfortunately, LGBTQ+ rights in the country are much different than in Europe or the United States, as it's illegal for both men and women. There is no legal protection for those people, with the death penalty allegedly being the punishment for same-sex relations in the past.

Obviously, somebody who is openly gay might have some reservations about playing in a country with such attitudes. Kasatkina expressed her concerns last year when it became known that high-level tennis could be played in the country.

Fast-forward to now, and Kasatkina told BBC Sport that she was given guarantees as she's one of the players who could compete at the 2024 WTA Finals. She's currently 10th in the 2024 WTA Race, with the Top 8 players making it to the year-end tournament.

"I’ve been given guarantees that I’m going to be fine."

Kasatkina on playing in Saudi

She is also trying to see the positives in the circumstance, which speaks to her as someone who has been quite outspoken on many topics but sensible in her approach to most things as well.

One of the objectives she hopes to achieve if she does find herself in Riyadh is inspiring girls there to pick up the sport.

"We see that the Saudis now are very into the sport, they want to develop the sport. And as long as it gives the opportunity to the people there, and the young kids and the women to actually see the sport - so that they can watch it, they can play it, they can participate in this, I think it’s great."


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