Saudi Arabia Defies Gender Equality by Hosting WTA Finals

Saudi Arabia has already heavily invested in several sports. The nation plans to make headway into women’s tennis and host the 2024 WTA Finals, if a deal can be reached. Talks between tour executive Steve Simon and Saudi officials have reportedly been ongoing, with a potential deal almost struck last summer. Saudi Arabia has been looking to acquire a top tournament since the middle of last year, according to The Athletic. However, a potential roadblock in securing a deal with the WTA is Saudi Arabia’s history regarding human rights. The Middle Eastern country has a male guardianship system and doesn’t grant equal rights to its female citizens. Several tennis figures have expressed differing opinions on having the WTA Finals in Saudi Arabia. Billie Jean King supports holding the WTA Finals in Saudi Arabia, arguing that engagement with the government is the best way to bring about change. On the men’s side of the sport, Rafael Nadal is set to become an ambassador for Saudi Arabia’s tennis federation, and Novak Djokovic is in favor of further Saudi investment into the sport, per The Athletic.