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Riyadh to host WTA Finals from 2024 to 2026

Riyadh to host WTA Finals from 2024 to 2026
April 5, 2024

Following an agreement between the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and the Saudi Tennis Federation (STF), the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh host the next three editions of the WTA Finals from 2024 to 2026.

Riyadh was selected as host following a comprehensive evaluation process, with the STF offering a record prize money of US$15.25 million in 2024, a prize fund that will increase for 2025 and 2026.

Announcing the partnership, WTA Chairman and Chief Executive, Steve Simon stated “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,” said Steve Simon, WTA chairman and chief executive.

“We’ve been impressed by the commitment shown by the Saudi Tennis Federation to grow the sport at all levels, and we have no doubt that players and fans can look forward to a world-class event in Riyadh as the finale to the 2024, 2025 and 2026 seasons.”

The partnership will also develop multi-year initiatives to continue inspiring more Saudi girls and boys to participate in the sport while supporting broader investment in the future development and growth of women’s tennis, including the WTA’s plans to grow the global fanbase for women’s tennis through increased investment in marketing, digital and fan engagement.

Explaining the importance of this Arij Mutabagani, STF President and the first elected female President of any Saudi Arabian sports federation, noted “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.

“And that’s entirely our focus, to inspire future generations of players and celebrate women’s tennis

“We want to help them to believe that they too belong on centre court, as seeing is believing. Through the tournament we have the potential to power the dreams of millions of young people who are looking to a bright future and a world of new opportunities.

“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. So, we have real momentum and hosting the world’s best tennis players in Riyadh will only accelerate our transformation and help grow the game further.”

The partnership comes at a time of significant growth of sport in Saudi Arabia, with overall participation levels more than tripling since 2015 to almost 50%. The number of sporting federations has also increased threefold during this time.

The Saudi Tennis Federation hosted the country’s first official professional tennis tournament in November 2023 with the Next Gen ATP Finals taking place in Jeddah, while there have been a number of exhibition tournaments and matches in recent years including the Diriyah Tennis Cup in 2019 and 2022, and the Riyadh Season Tennis Cup 2023 featuring the WTA World No. 2 and No.6, Aryna Sabalenka and Ons Jabeur.

At a grassroots level, tennis is undergoing rapid development in Saudi Arabia, where the number of clubs has more than doubled in the last five years and the sport is played equally by girls and boys in schools.

In 2023, an estimated 30,000 school children took their first steps in tennis and plans are in place to introduce the game to nearly 60,000 girls and boys in 2024.

The 2024 season-ending Finals event will take place from 2nd to 9th November and will feature the top eight singles players and doubles teams.

Lower image: Arij Mutabagani. Credit: STF.

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