Year-end WTA Finals is set in controversial location

After years of last-minute planning, WTA establishes WTA Finals location for next three years
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Tennis fans remember the disaster that was the 2023 WTA Finals in Cancun. Last minute planning on the part of the WTA required a quick selection of Cancun, Mexico, and construction of a tennis court in the middle of a golf course. What could go wrong went wrong including torrential rains during hurricane season that significantly delayed play.

The outcry was for the WTA to be more forward-thinking like the ATP and enter a multi-year agreement for a finals location like the ATP currently has in Turin. Earlier in the year, a possible US location of Charlotte, North Carolina was mentioned as a possibility for the WTA.

Some of the rumored delay in the previous years to establish El Paso and Cancun as the tournament locations was because a Saudi Arabian location was being considered but met with mixed feelings among players and former players given the treatment of women in that area.

WTA announces Saudi Arabia as the finals location for 2024-2026

The good news is that players know where the event is happening long before September's US Open when in past years they still didn't know where the event was happening. The other news is that it is happening in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova were among the former players voicing concern about this possiblity earlier this year.

Current players have differing opinions on it. Tunisian Ons Jabeur welcomed the idea, and Coco Gauff hoped that if the WTA Finals were located there, the WTA and its players would have an opportunity to improve conditions for women in the area.

The fact remains that the WTA Tour has a Middle Eastern swing each February in Doha and Dubai. There has been minimal backlash with these events so it is not surprising that Saudi Arabia will host the WTA Finals.

In the days and weeks to come, we will hear plenty of commentary from the tennis community about this decision. Months of debate and dissension may ensue, but the top eight women's singles and doubles teams in the world will be headed there regardless in November 2024.

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