2024 WTA Finals Reportedly Set To Be Held In Saudi Arabia

2024 WTA Finals Reportedly Set To Be Held In Saudi Arabia

by Nurein Ahmed

The 2024 WTA Finals will have a new home, and according to Czech businessman Tomas Petera, it will not be the Czech Republic.

The WTA's lucrative 10-year contract to stage the flagship women's year-end tournament in Shenzen was terminated in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the WTA Finals flitted from one country to another for the past three seasons.

Of concern is that the women's governing body waited until the last minute to announce new hosts every season. Last year, for instance, the event was marred with chaos from the moment the players arrived. The Mexican resort city of Cancun was chosen as the host.

The main stadium was only half built and unrecognizable, and it was only completed a day before the start of play. Players didn't get ample time to acclimatize to the conditions and the state of the court.

Eventually, WTA boss Steve Simon took the brunt of the circus, announcing that he would step down from his role as CEO after coming under fire from all corners of the tennis fraternity.

The WTA leadership is keen not to repeat the same mistake. Therefore, it only appears to be a matter of when, not if, they will announce a new tournament host for the 2024 WTA Finals, which has been in the offing for a while.

In an interview with Canal+ Sport, Tomas Petera, who organized the Czech bid for hosting this prestigious tournament in the Ostrava, confirmed that Saudi Arabia's bid has been successful.

"We got from some six contenders to the last two, but unfortunately the WTA chose Riyadh. This year we would organize the Masters in Ostrava, and the next three years in Prague's O2 arena."

Last year, Petera was reported to have tabled a four‑year offer with $15 million in prize money and a $6 million fee to the WTA every season, which was rejected.

This year, similar figures were quoted, but the Czech businessman admitted that Saudi Arabia must have offered a far greater deal to win the two-horse race.

"The Saudis had to promise significantly better terms because otherwise it doesn't make any sense. Attendance and atmosphere would be many times better here. The Czech Republic is a traditional tennis country, and I think they deserve to be assigned such an event."

Saudi Arabia's diversification of its economy has seen it expand its investment in sports in recent years. This year, they have stepped up their interest in tennis by launching a massive takeover of the sport with a proposed $2 billion offer for both tours, as reported by the Telegraph.


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