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Riyadh secures three years of women’s world tennis finals

Riyadh women's tennis Iga Swiatek Reuters/Jürgen Hasenkopf
Polish tennis player Iga Świątek, winner of the 2023 WTA Finals, held in Cancún, Mexico
  • Record $15 million prize money
  • Further sign of Saudi sporting ambitions
  • Saudi tennis participation hits 50%

Riyadh is to host the Women’s Tennis Association finals for the next three years, with record prize money for participants.

The top eight singles players and doubles teams in the annual Race to the WTA Finals will play for a prize pot of $15 million, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) said in a statement.

The prize money for the Riyadh tennis event will increase in both 2025 and 2026, the statement said.

The news is a further sign of the scale of Saudi Arabia’s sporting ambitions.

Riyadh already hosts the richest horse race in the world in the shape of the $20 million Saudi Cup.

The country has also lured the greats of global football to its Saudi Pro League with lucrative contracts, while the state-owned Public Investment Fund (PIF) owns the English football team Newcastle United.

Saudi Arabia has invested in golf, snooker, Formula 1, boxing, mixed martial arts and baseball as part of plans to shift the country’s economy away from a reliance on hydrocarbons.

Overall participation levels in tennis in Saudi Arabia have more than tripled since 2015 to almost 50 percent, while the number of sporting federations has also increased threefold during this time.

The men’s ATP Tour said in August last year that its Next Gen Finals would be held in Jeddah, in the west of Saudi Arabia, every year to 2027.

In January, the Saudi Tennis Federation named Rafael Nadal, a 22-times Grand Slam champion, as an ambassador. Last month PIF announced a multi-year deal to become the official naming partner of the ATP rankings.

Steve Simon, the chairman and CEO of the WTA, said: “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.”

Arij Mutabagani, president of the Saudi Tennis Federation and the first elected female president of any Saudi Arabian sports federation, said: “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.”

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