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WTA Postpones Decision on 2024 Finals Venue Amid Saudi Arabia Speculation

Amid growing speculation surrounding Saudi Arabia potentially hosting the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) 2024 season-ending Finals, the governing body overseeing women’s tennis has officially stated that no decision has been made regarding the tournament’s venue.

The recent choice of Cancun as the venue for this year’s Finals was revealed less than two months before the event’s scheduled start on October 29. However, the tournament faced criticism from Aryna Sabalenka, the world’s second-ranked player, who expressed reservations about the event’s organizational standards.

Recent reports from various media outlets have suggested advanced negotiations to relocate the 2024 Finals to Saudi Arabia. According to the BBC, both parties are reportedly interested in securing a multi-year deal to host the championship.

WTA Postpone Decision?

Responding to these rumors, a spokesperson for the Women’s Tennis Association clarified in an email statement, “We are in discussions with various groups regarding the 2024 Women’s Tennis Association Finalsalso, past and have not settled on any choices right now. Similarly as with all WTA choices, we are working intimately with players and are centered around proceeding to construct serious areas of strength for a for ladies’ tennis.”

The 2019 edition of the Women’s Tennis Association Finals was held in Shenzhen as part of a lucrative 10-year deal. However, the event was canceled the following year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the 2021 tournament relocated to Guadalajara, Mexico.

Initially planning to return the Finals to Shenzhen in 2022, the Women’s Tennis Association suspended tournaments in China over concerns about the treatment of former doubles world number one Peng Shuai. Fort Worth, Texas, stepped in as the host that year, but the event experienced lower attendance.

In a parallel development, the men’s ATP Tour announced in August that its Next Gen Finals for under-21 players would be hosted in Jeddah from 2023 to 2027, marking the Gulf state’s first official tournament.

Saudi Arabia has made significant investments in various sports, including soccer, Formula One, boxing, and golf. However, critics have accused the country of employing “sportswashing” tactics to divert attention from alleged human rights abuses.Saudi Arabia denies these allegations, affirming that it safeguards its public safety through its regulations.

As discussions continue regarding the potential host for the 2024 WTA Finals, the tennis world awaits the official decision that will shape the future of this prestigious tournament.

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