The seaside city of Cancun in Mexico will host the Women's Tennis Masters from October 29 to November 5, the WTA announced Thursday after ruling out the possibility of organizing the tournament in Saudi Arabia, an idea which had caused controversy.
The WTA announced in a press release that after “having studied a certain number of offers”, it had opted for Cancun, “based on a certain number of parameters including the logistical reception of the players, accessibility in terms of transport, the capacity to welcome the public and a commitment to the support and enhancement of women's tennis".
The Masters, baptized “WTA Finals”, bring together the eight highest ranked singles players and eight pairs of doubles at the end of the season. They took place last year in Fort Worth, Texas.
Saudi Arabia appeared to be in the running to host the event this year, but women's tennis legends Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert had spoken out against the possibility.
“I can tell you 100% that if I was still playing, I would not go (to Saudi Arabia) for these Masters,” Navratilova told the American press a few days before the start of the US Open.
“Obviously there are these human rights issues and the rest, the way they treat women for example,” observed Chris Evert. “I would be against it. But I don’t have the right to vote,” she added.
Other current players, including the American Jessica Pegula and the Tunisian Ons Jabeur, respectively N.3 and 5 in the world, had on the contrary considered that holding such an event could be a lever for improving the condition women in the kingdom.
Shenzhen was also among the candidates. But the WTA, which had suspended its tournaments in China since December 2021 in support of the Chinese player Peng Shuai before reversing this decision in April, preferred not to accept this candidacy.
Peng Shuai had accused a senior communist leader in his country of having forced him to have sex. Since then, his public appearances have been the subject of close surveillance by the Chinese regime.