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Saudi Arabia to host WTA Finals for the next 3 years for a whopping prize money

Saudi Arabia to host WTA Finals for the next 3 years for a whopping prize money

Saudi Arabia to host WTA Finals for the next 3 years for a whopping prize money

Aryna Sabalenka poses with a trophy

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  • Saudi Arabia will host WTA Finals for the next 3 years.
  • Prize money for the tournament has been increased 70% to $15.25 million.
  • WTA sees it as a positive step for women’s tennis globally.
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Saudi Arabia has been announced as the host for the next three iterations of the WTA Finals, the concluding highlight event of the women’s tennis circuit.

The women’s professional tennis tour disclosed a deal on Thursday that will elevate the prize money for this November’s tournament to $15.25m (£12m), marking a 70-per-cent surge from 2023.

Riyadh, the capital of the nation, will accommodate the event for the premier eight singles players and top eight doubles teams from November 2-9, and will also host the 2025 and 2026 tournaments.

This agreement is the most recent in a series of investments by Saudi Arabia in tennis, with WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon characterizing it as an “exciting new opportunity” and a “positive step for the long-term growth of women’s tennis as a global and inclusive sport.”

Last month, Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur endorsed the move, stating at Indian Wells: “I think I’m the first player who would be supportive of going to Saudi.

“The country is evolving. I know that other people have a different opinion, which is normal, but I’ve been there a couple of times and I’ve seen how amazing people are, how women are getting more and more rights.

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“As a female tennis player, I feel it’s time to go there, it’s time to give the opportunity to women who dream of being tennis players.”

Arij Mutabagani, the president of the Saudi Tennis Federation, assured that “everyone will be made to feel extremely welcome” at the Finals, while Simon conveyed to the Associated Press: “We’re going into this eyes wide open that the investment in sport by Saudi certainly provokes strong views from people.

“We’ve met with Chris and Martina and listened to their concerns and we have shared their concerns through our stakeholders as well, without prejudice. Our focus is on how we develop women’s tennis for the benefit of everybody involved in the game … we are truly a global tour, a global business. We participate in many countries that have different cultures and values systems across the board.”

Saudi Arabia’s Private Investment Fund (PIF) established the LIV Golf tour and invested in Premier League team Newcastle, amplifying the kingdom’s involvement in tennis.

The ATP Tour relocated its Next Gen Finals for top 21-and-under players to Jeddah in November; the PIF is the title sponsor for the men’s rankings; Rafael Nadal, a 22-time Grand Slam champion, recently became an ambassador for the Saudi Tennis Federation; he will participate in an exhibition event in Riyadh in October alongside 24-time major winner Novak Djokovic and emerging stars Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner.

There have been talks about hosting a top-tier Masters 1000 tournament in Saudi Arabia as well, potentially as part of a broader restructuring involving the WTA, ATP, and the country.

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