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WTA Finals to be held in Saudi Arabia from 2024-2026

:The season-ending WTA Finals will be held in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh from 2024-2026, the women's tennis body said on Thursday, ending months of speculation and marking the Gulf country's latest foray into the sport.

Riyadh will host the season finale - which features the top eight singles players and doubles teams - from Nov. 2-9 and replaces last year's hosts Cancun, Mexico.

"To have a women's tournament of this magnitude and profile is a defining moment for tennis in Saudi Arabia. The WTA Finals has the power to inspire far beyond the sport, especially for our young girls and women," the Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal Al-Saud told Reuters.

Talk that the event could be shifted to Saudi Arabia had intensified after the men's ATP Tour said last August its Next Gen Finals would be held in Jeddah from 2023 to 2027.

"The WTA selected Riyadh following a comprehensive evaluation process over several months, which has included assessment of multiple bids from different regions and engagement with players," it said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia has invested heavily in sports like soccer, Formula One and golf in the last few years while critics accuse the kingdom of using its Public Investment Fund to "sportswash" its human rights record.

The country denies accusations of human rights abuses and says it protects its national security through its laws.

WTA chief Steve Simon said last year that Saudi Arabia presented "big issues" as a host for women's tour events but also acknowledged the progress it had made and continued to engage with players.

"Bringing the WTA Finals to Riyadh is an exciting new opportunity for us and a positive step for the long-term growth of women's tennis as a global and inclusive

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