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WTA Finals Latest Sporting Event To Take Saudi Millions

Apr 5, 2024

The WTA Finals will be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for the next three years, the association and Saudi Tennis Federation announced Thursday. The prize pool will increase significantly and hit a new record, going from $9 million in 2023 to $15.25 million in ’24, and the WTA says it will be even higher in the next two years.

After rumblings of moving the finals to Saudi Arabia first emerged, former tennis stars Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova wrote a January op-ed in The Washington Post criticizing the potential partnership, saying a tournament there would be a “significant regression” given the nation’s extensive record of human rights abuses. Longtime WTA head Steve Simon said Thursday that he has met with Evert and Navratilova and that he “shared the concerns around women’s rights and LGBTQ+ rights within the Kingdom of Saudi,” but he does not expect any players to miss the event.

The WTA confirmed to Front Office Sports that players would be able to compete in their normal attire—Saudi Arabia typically requires both men and women to dress modestly—and it has been assured by Saudi authorities that there will be no restrictions as to same-sex couples sharing hotel rooms.

Source: Front Office Sports

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