WTA Reportedly Close To Striking Deal With Saudi Arabia To Host WTA Finals

WTA Reportedly Close To Striking Deal With Saudi Arabia To Host WTA Finals

by Jordan Reynolds

It is being reported that Saudi Arabia is set to expand its influence in tennis by securing the rights to host the WTA Finals.

Rumors about the country's possible involvement in women's tennis have been rife in the tennis world for several months. It seems that possibility is now closer to becoming a reality for the WTA Tour.

Saudi Arabia has already formed a partnership with the ATP Tour. This was a multiyear strategic agreement that was recently agreed with the ATP, which will see Saudi involvement in the sport increase exponentially.

Not everyone in the tennis world agrees with the country partnering with the WTA Tour. For example, tennis legends Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova wrote a letter opposing the move, citing the country's treatment of women and gay people.

This led to a strong response to Evert and Navratilova by the Saudi Ambassador to the US. She claimed that the pair were turning their backs on the country's women and denying them the same chances as western women.

It now seems that Evert and Navratilova will not get the result they wanted. Reports indicate that Riyadh in Saudi Arabia is going to be rewarded the right to the WTA Finals until 2026, as reported by Polish journalist Dominik Senkowski.

"The WTA Finals tournament is to be held in Riyadh - it was learned unofficially by SportPL. The WTA is to sign an agreement with the Saudis to organize the event until 2026 with an option to extend it. Recently, the ATP authorities also reached an agreement with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia."

Such a deal would also likely include an option to extend the deal beyond 2026. This would give the WTA flexibility, as it is not currently known whether the event would generate big crowds.

Last year's WTA Finals was hosted in Cancun, which was plagued by a lack of preparation and low crowds. The WTA Finals has been hosted in the Middle East before, when Qatar held the tournament from 2008 to 2010.

If this move does happen, it will certainly cause a lot of division in the tennis world, but some think it is simply inevitable after the ATP Tour announced its own partnership with Saudi Arabia.


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