Saudi Arabia received record money for women’s tennis tour final tournament – legends criticize the sport’s umbrella organization | Sport

Saudi Arabia received record money for womens tennis tour final

The women’s tennis WTA tour culminates in this and the next two seasons with a lucrative final tournament in Saudi Arabia. Sports legends have criticized the umbrella organization’s decision.

The women’s tennis umbrella organization WTA announced on Thursday that the season will culminate in this and the next two seasons with the final tournament in Saudi Arabia. The prize pool of the tournament, which will be played in Riyadh at the beginning of November, will reach record numbers, when the eight best singles players and the eight best doubles pairs of the season will win over 14 million euros in prize money.

Last year, the Next Generation tournament for male players under the age of 21 was already played in Saudi Arabia.

The WTA’s decision has been criticized, because due to the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia and, among other things, laws targeting sexual minorities, the tournament has been seen as just another part of the country’s sports washing and shield polishing.

Tennis legends Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert were upset in January For the Washington Postthat the players have not been consulted when planning the decision.

– Going to Saudi Arabia would be regressive instead of progressive, and it would be a significant step backwards not only for women’s sports, but for women in general.

Homosexuality is a crime in Saudi Arabia, and the Russian ranked 11th among active players Darja Kasatkina has been the only one to speak against going to Saudi Arabia.

– It’s hard to even talk about this. It might be a little easier for men to be there, but women don’t feel the same way. Money talks in the world today, but for me it’s not all about money, Kasatkina, who spoke openly about her homosexuality, stated last year.

WTA boss by Steve Simon by the organization weighed and evaluated several offers, but by choosing Riyadh, the organization supports a significant change in the country. In addition, the significantly growing prize pool is attractive, and the money paid out in Saudi Arabia is at the same level as in the men’s ATP final tournament (around 13.8 million euros in 2023).

– The WTA has been breaking boundaries for more than 50 years. We want to create opportunities for women to play at an elite level, and to believe this we inspire women and girls to play the sport.

Three years ago, she was the first woman elected as the head of the Saudi Arabian Tennis Association Arji Almutabagani assures that people of the same sex can stay in the same room in the country.

– Our country is moving forward. Women have taken historic steps in recent years in various sectors, and sports are an important factor in the development of our society.