"WTA too poor to turn this down" - Tennis fans react to Saudi Arabia reportedly tripling the prize money for hosting WTA Finals in Riyadh

WTA Finals Saudi Arabia
Tennis fans react to Saudi Arabia's new offer to WTA

Saudi Arabia's efforts to pursue investments in the WTA have been evident within the tennis community for quite some time. Nevertheless, fans' response to the latest news is a mixture of emotions.

According to a Daily Mail report, the Gulf country has proposed a remarkable threefold increase in prize money to $12 million, along with a substantial $8 million hosting fee for the WTA Finals in Riyadh.

The board will decide on the final venue during the ongoing US Open in New York next week, with Washington, Prague, and Monterrey also in contention to host the year-ending championship.

Tennis fans were apparently not happy and they took to Twitter to express their displeasure. According to one user, Saudi Arabia will not stop bidding, and the WTA and ATP must manage it in a way that benefits them.

"Saudi won’t stop. They will get a slice of tennis one way or another. That’s just a fact. The job of the ATP and WTA is to manage it in a way that avoids a LIV-like situation," the user wrote.

Another user advised the Women's Tennis Association not to seek short-term solutions by selecting the highest bidder and rather demonstrate leadership and integrity in order to negotiate from a position of power in the future.

"Hope the WTA doesn't keep trying to find short-term bandaid solutions by taking the highest bidder and actually show some leadership and long-term vision (not to mention integrity) so they can negotiate from a place of power moving forward," the user tweeted.

Another fan wrote:

"The fact that the WTA is considering Saudi Arabia as a host, a country where the LGBTQ+ community has NO rights at all while Daria Kasatkina, an openly gay woman, qualified at last year’s WTA Finals makes me sick. And she’s #12 at the race now so what if she qualifies again?"

Here are a few more reactions from tennis fans:


Tennis legends Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert oppose WTA's potential Saudi Arabia deal

Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova pictured at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals.
Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova pictured at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals.

Martina Navratilova told sports journalist Jon Wertheim that if she were playing on the tour today, she would not travel to Saudi Arabia for the WTA Finals.

"I can tell you 100 percent if I were still playing, I would not be going (to Saudi Arabia) for the Championships," Navratilova said.

Chris Evert echoed her former rival and compatriot's sentiment, saying that the Women's Tennis Association is about equality and has been a trailblazer in women empowerment. She urged the organization not to chase money but to do the right thing.

"The WTA is about equality. We have been leaders and role models in women’s sports. We have made decisions the last 50 years with integrity and dignity. We have empowered women…Take less money and do the right thing," Evert wrote on Twitter.

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Edited by Parag Jain
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