Record-Breaking Tennis Clash: Unveiling WTA Finals in Saudi Arabia, Sparking Curiosity and Concern


Record-Breaking Prize Money and Growth Opportunities

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has announced a three-year partnership with the Saudi Tennis Federation to host the WTA Finals in Riyadh from 2024 to 2026. This prestigious event will offer a record .25 million in prize money, a 70% increase compared to the previous year.

“Bringing the WTA Finals to Riyadh is a testament to the growth of women’s tennis globally,” said WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon. “We are impressed by the Saudi Tennis Federation’s commitment to developing the sport at all levels and are confident that players and fans will have an extraordinary experience in Riyadh.”

Controversy and Concerns

The announcement has been met with mixed reactions, particularly regarding Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, especially in areas of women’s rights and LGBTQ+ rights.

Two tennis legends, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, had voiced their opposition to the partnership, prompting Simon to meet with them and share their concerns with relevant stakeholders.

“We have met with Chris and Martina and listened attentively to their concerns,” Simon said. “We have also shared these concerns with our stakeholders. Our focus remains on developing women’s tennis for the benefit of everyone involved.”

Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert speak to the media
Caption: Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert express concerns at a press conference in 2023. (Robert Prange/Getty Images)

Simon’s Stance

While acknowledging the concerns raised, Simon emphasized the WTA’s global nature and its commitment to engaging with diverse cultures. He stressed that players will make their own decisions regarding participation, but expressed his belief that qualifiers will be eager to compete in Riyadh.

“We are a global tour, a global business,” Simon explained. “We participate in many countries with different cultures and value systems. Our focus is on developing women’s tennis and ensuring that all players have an opportunity to compete and succeed.”

Tournament Details

The WTA Finals will feature the top eight singles players and doubles teams, offering substantial prize money and ranking points. This prestigious event is the culmination of the WTA season and showcases the world’s elite players.


This partnership marks a significant step in the growth of women’s tennis. Saudi Arabia has shown a growing interest in hosting major sporting events, and the WTA Finals serve as another example of its commitment to promoting sports participation for all.

The event will also contribute to the development of tennis in the Middle East and provide opportunities for local players to witness top-level competitions firsthand.

Disclaimer: The Associated Press contributed reporting to this article.

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