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Tennis: Saudi Arabia, host land for the next three Women’s Masters (WTA)

“The choice of Riyadh to host the WTA Masters is based on a presence of more than twenty years of the WTA in the Middle East,” indicates the body in a press release.

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Tennis: Saudi Arabia, host land for the next three Women’s Masters (WTA)

“The choice of Riyadh to host the WTA Masters is based on a presence of more than twenty years of the WTA in the Middle East,” indicates the body in a press release. Already considered last year, the organization of the Women's Masters in Saudi Arabia had provoked numerous criticisms, particularly linked to women's rights in the conservative kingdom.

The president of the Saudi Tennis Federation Arij Mutabagani, the first woman elected at the head of a Saudi sports federation, wanted to be reassuring on this point. “Hosting the WTA Masters is of immense importance for the future of tennis in Saudi Arabia and the development of sport in general (...) Our country is moving forward. Much has already been done and many historic advances have been made by women in all sectors in recent years, sport being a driver of progress throughout our society,” assures Ms. Mutabagani in the WTA press release. .

More prosaically, the agreement between the WTA and Saudi Arabia will have a big financial impact: the 2024 edition of the Masters will offer a total purse of $15.25 million “with additional increases in 2025 and 2026,” according to the press release.

The powerful oil-rich Gulf monarchy, often singled out for its violations of human rights and its environmental record, invests billions of dollars in world sport (golf, football, boxing, rallying, F1, etc.).

Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund (PIF) recently became the "official partner" of the ATP tennis rankings. As part of this partnership, the PIF will also be associated with several major tournaments and the end-of-year men's Masters. The kingdom has also been hosting the Masters Next Gen since 2023 and until 2027, a test tournament for new rules which brings together the eight best players under 22 years old.

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