“Being Played to Give Players Jobs”: WTA Abu Dhabi to Be Staged ‘Without Sponsors’

Published 12/23/2020, 4:27 AM EST
The WTA logo outside the Grandstand court on Day Four of The Internazionali BNL d’Italia 2015 at the Foro Italico on May 13, 2015 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

It’s been more than 12 months since the pandemic has influenced people’s lives. Tennis is one such sector that has taken a hit. Wimbledon is one of the most prestigious events in the calendar year, which was canceled in 2020. Tournaments such as the US Open and French Open were shuffled. 


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Now that the season has ended, the 2021 season is fast approaching. In an unforeseen turn of events, the Abu Dhabi Sports Council issued a confirmation that the women’s tennis tournament will take place in Abu Dhabi, starting from next month. The pandemic had forced the event to be canceled this year. This event will take place from January 5 till the 13.

SHENZHEN, CHINA – OCTOBER 25: Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, Naomi Osaka of Japan, Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, Ashleigh Barty of Australia, Simona Halep of Romania, Bianca Andreescu of Canada, Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic pose for a selfie ahead of the 2019 WTA Finals at Lotus Hill Park on October 25, 2019 in Shenzhen, China. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Abu Dhabi tennis event to take place for non-commercial reasons


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Another astonishing fact is that the tournament is going ahead without the help of sponsors. The motive behind hosting this event is to ensure players some source of revenue. Tournament director, Bharat Godkhindi said, “We have no sponsors. The only sponsor is WTA right now. This is not being played for commercial reasons, it’s being played to give players jobs. The WTA has been very, very considerate and they’re thinking a lot about the players.”


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It’s nice to see the tennis fraternity working together to protect players’ interest in these trying times. The Abu Dhabi Sports Council has extended its support in helping in any possible manner. Elaborating further, Godkhindi said, “The ladies who rely on this for their income haven’t had jobs for a long time. This is a 500-level tournament with a 64 draw because we wanted more players to play so everyone gets some money.”

Over the years, this venue has hosted players such as Federer, Djokovic, and Nadal on multiple occasions. The defending Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin is the top seed at this year’s event, which also includes Elina Svitolina and Belinda Bencic to name a few. 


Rohan Kollare

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Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering tennis and Formula One.