We still don’t known where and when this year’s WTA Finals will take place. The event is likely to start on October 30, which means there are only two months left. Initially, it seemed that the tournament would return to Chinese Shenzhen, but For the past few weeks there has been a lot of talk about Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. The Czech sports portal Isport.blesk.cz reports that businessman Tomas Petera has submitted a proposal to the women’s tennis federation to host the event in Ostrava.
“The WTA has an official offer from me and they take it seriously” Petera said. If he succeeds, he will organize an event in Ostrava this year, and in Prague for the next three or four years. From 2014 to 2018 the WTA Finals event was held in Singapore.
A year later players competed in Shenzhen. The Chinese were supposed to organize the competition for 10 years, but everything changed due to the pandemic and the Peng Shuai affair. In last season the tournament were in Fort Worth.
The stands were not full, players complained about the organization. Tomas Petera said that the atmosphere at tournaments in the Czech Republic would be completely different. “For Czech tennis, the organization of the WTA Finals would be something fantastic, taking into account the performances of our players.
Several of them may qualify for the competition, Polish Iga Swiatek will also help fill the hall” Petera added.
New rival for Saudi Arabia in WTA Finals?
Karolina Muchova, Marketa Vondrousova, Petra Kvitova and Barbora Krejcikova can compete in the WTA Finals 2023.
“That would be a great idea. I heard about the negotiations” – Vondrousova said. Krejcikova could play also with Katerina Siniakova in doubles. According to the Czech media, Petera is ready to invest a lot to organize the event.
The question is whether he will be able to beat the Saudis and whether the WTA will be guided by the capacity of the stands, which may fail in Riyadh. In the background there is also a discussion about women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. The last question Also concerns the political sphere.
The Czechs did not allow Russian and Belarusian tennis players to attend the WTA tournament in Prague in July. Aryna Sabalenka will definitely play in the WTA Finals and possibly Daria Kasatkina. “There are no clear rules, girls could not play in Prague but boys could play in the same time in the ATP Challenger in Liberec.
I am trying very hard to establish rules defining who can and who cannot run in the Czech Republic” Petera said. In the coming days the government in Czech Republic would supposedly approve a new law that would ban Russians and Belarusians.
The exception could be individual athletes who would enter without the flag of their country, without sponsors from the sanctions list and with a signature under a statement based on the UN declaration that they rejected the war. The WTA tournament in Ostrava was organized in 2020- 2021.