WTA Finals in Mexico is a Great Option
The WTA is taking a lot of criticism for its lack of preparation for its marquee event, the WTA Finals.
Pundits and players alike are not happy with organizers deciding on Cancun just about a month before the finals where to begin. Add to that the fact that the venue was not ready until one day before play began and what you ended up with is a lot of angry players, who couldn’t practice or get a feel for the courts they would be playing.
This lack of organization and chaos has been a trend for the WTA as of late. Ever since the venue was changed from China, they’ve had a lot of trouble finding a suitable replacement to showcase the top eight women’s players on the tour. This year there were three bids, Mexico, Czech Republic, and Saudi Arabia. Czech had one of the biggest bids to hold the finals there for the next three years, but rumor has it that the WTA decided on Cancun as a stopgap, before awarding a long-term contract to Saudi Arabia possibly next year. Something shady is definitely at work here!
In my opinion, giving the tournament to Saudi Arabia would be a mistake. Like China, Saudi Arabia does not have high interest in tennis. The last thing the WTA needs are more TV shots of empty seats for their premier event. It gives the perception that nobody cares about Women’s tennis, and that’s obviously not the case. This is what happened last year when they decided to award the finals to Fort Worth, Texas, and nobody showed up. These players deserve better. They deserve a packed house for every match.
If you’re not interested in giving it to Czech Republic, Mexico is a fantastic option moving forward. We saw the finals there a couple of years ago in Guadalajara, and the fan atmosphere was absolutely electric. This will be the case again this year. The first thing Mexico needs to do though, is commit to a proper venue. This event is being held in a makeshift stadium constructed at a resort for this event only. Again, the players deserve better. Give Mexico the chance to put together a proper bid with a promise of a proper venue, and let the ladies enjoy the Mexican hospitality and the loving fans. The WTA really needs to step up here and not just think about Saudi dollars. One needs to simply look at all the expensive soccer players that Saudi has brought to their country to play, only for those players to find they’re playing to empty stadiums.
Does the WTA want five years off empty stadiums for their premier event? Do better WTA.
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