WTA Saudi Arabia Row: 19-Year-Old Prodigy Weighs in With a Dicey Take on Controversial PIF Move

Published 02/03/2024, 4:31 PM EST

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The ongoing debate around Saudi Arabia being allowed to host a WTA tour on their premises has become a bone of contention. Some veterans are against it, but the desert nation’s tennis hosting has excited the Saudi players eyeing to catch up with their WTA counterparts.

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One of the players from the sport Yara Alhogbani recently shared her feelings about the tournament being held in her country and it’s impact on the women there.

Match Point for Saudi Arabia

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Yara Alhogbani recently opened up about how having a tournament of the WTA makes a great impact on the Saudi players. She stated, “Having these kinds of matches and tournaments is going to help grow the sport. It would really be nice to have a lot of those WTA tournaments there (in Saudi). They have no idea what kind of impact they can make on us.”

Further, she also mentioned how seeing tennis players playing live is very different from seeing them on TV. Alhogbani also shared how playing against Ons Jabeur and Aryna Sabalenka meant a lot to the players.

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Even though the players in Saudi Arabia are very excited, the WTA players both present and former have mixed feelings about conducting a tournament there. Martina Navratilova is still standing strong against not feeling good about hosting a tournament there and on the other hand Jabeur claims to be very excited.

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Clash of contrasting views

In an interview with the Washington Post, Martina Navratilova mentioned how having a WTA tournament in Saudi Arabia would be a step backward. She said, “Taking a tournament there would represent a significant step backward, to the detriment not just of women’s sport, but women.

On the other hand, Ons Jabeur who will actually be part of the WTA tournament is very excited about it. She stated, “As an Arab player, I’m very excited to be there. I know in Saudi Arabia they are changing things and evolving. I was there last year to give a speech and it was very nice meeting a lot of amazing women.”

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Written by:

Ishmeet Kaur

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One take at a time

Growing up, I was always drawn to tennis and would spend hours watching matches on TV. It's no surprise that I eventually pursued a career in sports journalism, with a focus on the racket sport.?As a tennis sportswriter for EssentiallySports, I've had the opportunity to cover some of the biggest tournaments.
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Edited by:

Bilal Handoo

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