Saudi Arabia will host the WTA Finals until 2026 with record prize money of £12 million WTA finals

Saudi Arabia has won the race to host the next three editions of the WTA Finals, the flagship tour event in women’s tennis, taking home a record $15.25 million (£12 million) in prize money for the biggest annual women’s sporting event in Saudi -Arabia promised Arabia.

At the WTA Finals, the tour’s year-end championships, the eight best singles players and doubles pairs in the world fight for the title. The WTA Finals will be held in Saudi Arabia from 2024 to 2026, with this year’s edition taking place from November 2nd to 9th.

The agreement between the WTA and the Saudi Tennis Federation has been expected by tour insiders since late last year. It has already received significant criticism, with Saudi Arabia accused of distorting its human rights record and restrictions placed on women in the country.

Earlier this year, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert urged the WTA not to hold the event in Saudi Arabia a Washington Post editorial.

In a statement, WTA chairman and chief executive Steve Simon 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.”

Last year, the WTA and Saudi Arabia held talks about holding the event there before the tour settled on a one-year deal in Cancún, where the event offered $9 million (£7.1 million) in prize money.

The 2019 edition, the first of ten years to be held in Shenzhen, China, offered a previous record prize money of $14 million. The event was canceled due to Covid in 2020, and after the WTA briefly staged public protests over its concerns about Peng Shuai’s personal freedom after accusing former Chinese vice premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault, Shenzhen broke away last year act about her.

Since its cancellation in 2020, the event has been held in Guadalajara, Dallas-Fort Worth and Cancún on consecutive one-year contracts. Last year’s edition was criticized by players for strong winds and an uneven pitch surface, which made conditions extremely difficult in a makeshift stadium that was completed days before the event began.

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