Tennis: Saudi Arabia To Host WTA Finals From 2024-2026 - Eastern Mirror
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Tennis: Saudi Arabia to host WTA Finals from 2024-2026

By IANS Updated: Apr 04, 2024 6:52 pm
Photo: IANS

ST. PETERSBURG — Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia will host the next three editions of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Finals from 2024 to 2026 after the Saudi Tennis Federation (STF) signed a new agreement with the WTA on Thursday. The event will now have a record prize money of $15.25m, it was announced on Thursday.

The WTA Finals features the top-eight singles players and doubles teams of the year and is scheduled between November 2-9 for the year 2024 and will be played in Riyadh. The prize money will also be further increased in 2025 and 2026.

After engaging with players and conducting a thorough evaluation process spanning several months, the WTA chose Riyadh. This process involved assessing many bids from various regions.

A precise set of standards was used to evaluate each potential host like delivering and financing a top-notch event for participants and spectators; support for the WTA’s goal of increasing prize money significantly and the degree of dedication they have shown to developing the WTA Finals and the sport over time.

The partnership will moreover facilitate wider investments in the advancement and expansion of women’s tennis, encompassing the WTA’s strategies to expand the sport’s global audience by augmenting marketing, digital, and fan interaction expenditures.

Steve Simon, WTA chairman and CEO, said: “Bringing the WTA Finals to Riyadh is an exciting new opportunity for us and a positive step for the long-term growth of women’s tennis as a global and inclusive sport. We’ve been impressed by the commitment shown by the Saudi Tennis Federation to grow the sport at all levels, and we have no doubt that players and fans can look forward to a world-class event in Riyadh as the finale to the 2024, 2025 and 2026 seasons.”

There have been a number of exhibition events and matches in recent years, such as the Diriyah Tennis Cup in 2019 and 2022 and the Riyadh Season Tennis Cup 2023, which featured the WTA World No.2 and No.6 in Aryna Sabalenka and Ons Jabeur.

However, the Saudi Tennis Federation hosted the nation’s first official professional tennis tournament in November 2023 with the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah.

Arij Mutabagani, president of STF and the first elected female president of any Saudi Arabian sports federation, said: “Hosting the WTA Finals is absolutely huge for the future of tennis in Saudi Arabia and growing sport in general, especially amongst our young girls. And that’s entirely our focus, to inspire future generations of players and celebrate women’s tennis. We want to help them to believe that they too belong on the center court, as seeing is believing. Through the tournament, we have the potential to power the dreams of millions of young people who are looking to a bright future and a world of new opportunities.”

“Everyone will be made to feel extremely welcome. Our country is moving forward. Much has been achieved already and many historic steps taken by women in all sectors in recent years, with sports driving much of the progress across our entire society. So, we have real momentum and hosting the world’s best tennis players in Riyadh will only accelerate our transformation and help grow the game further.”

By IANS Updated: Apr 04, 2024 6:52:43 pm
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