Saudi Arabia to Host WTA Finals for Next Three Years- BBC

Saudi Arabia will host the WTA Finals for the next three years and offer record prize money of $15.25m (£12.04m). This year’s finals will take place from 2 to 9 November in Riyadh, according to BBC.

The Next Gen ATP Finals, which features the best men under 21, was held in Saudi Arabia last year.

“The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has been breaking down barriers for more than 50 years,” Steve Simon, current Chief Executive of WTA, told BBC Sport.

“We want to create more opportunities for women to play tennis at the elite level, and I think by doing this, we believe that we can inspire more women and girls to get involved with the sport,” added Simon. “We are a global sport. The WTA now has all of these events and people from around the world that do reflect different cultures and systems.”

The WTA said it assessed “multiple bids from different regions” and evaluated potential hosts on three criteria, including support for the organisation’s ambition to achieve equal prize money for women.

Prize money will rise to $15.5m (£12.24m) in 2025 and 2026, a significant increase on the $9m (£7.11m) prize fund offered at last year.

The WTA has pledged to introduce equal prize money at all bar the smallest events by 2033. In comparison, the prize fund at last year’s ATP Finals in Turin was $15m (£11.84m).

The Saudi government says the investment is boosting the economy, opening it up to tourism and inspiring people to be more active.

Simon continued. “We have also done a lot of research for some of the other sporting events that have been held over there, and they had positive experiences within the region.”

Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, Minister of Sport and President of the Saudi Arabian Olympic and Paralympic Committee, said the announcement is a significant moment for the country.

“To have a women’s tournament of this magnitude and profile is a defining moment for tennis in Saudi Arabia,” said Al Faisal. “The WTA Finals has the power to inspire far beyond the sport, especially for our young girls and women.”

Arij Almutabagani, who in 2021 became the first woman elected to run one of the country’s sports federations, said: “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 sport driving much of the progress across our entire society,” added Almutabagani. “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. That’s entirely our focus, to inspire future generations of players and celebrate women’s tennis.”

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