ABU DHABI: Tunisian tennis star Ons Jabeur on Saturday threw her assist behind the potential staging of the WTA Finals in Saudi Arabia, urging critics to be “extra knowledgeable” on the Kingdom’s curiosity within the sport.
Jabeur, a three-time Grand Slam finalist and former world quantity two, stated she was impressed by the response of Princess Reema bint Bandar, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to america, to criticism from Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert of the WTA’s potential cope with the Kingdom.
Princess Reema stated the 2 tennis legends primarily based their stance on “outdated stereotypes,” including that, “failing to acknowledge the good progress ladies have made in Saudi Arabia denigrates our outstanding journey.”
“Princess Reema’s reply was unbelievable. I believe stylish, elegant, and each participant was impressed with the way in which she addressed Martina’s and Chris’ letter,” Jabeur informed AFP in Abu Dhabi.
“We’re clearly trying ahead to go there, I’m personally trying ahead to go there.”
The WTA Finals match has been in seek for a secure residence for the previous three years.
A ten-year historic cope with the town of Shenzhen resulted in just one staging of the occasion, in 2019, earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic, and the reported disappearance of Peng Shuai, led the ladies’s tour to take its crown jewel elsewhere.
Navratilova, 67, and Evert, 69, every received 18 Grand Slam singles titles between 1974 and 1991.
Their opinion article in The Washington Put up final month was headlined: “We didn’t assist construct ladies’s tennis for it to be exploited by Saudi Arabia.”
The strongest bid on the desk in the mean time is believed to return from the Saudis, and an announcement that the WTA Finals will probably be heading to Riyadh appears imminent.
“It’s wonderful to go there and encourage, not simply ladies, males too,” stated Tunisian Jabeur.
“I believe it is extremely essential to try this. Hopefully if the WTA Finals goes there, I will probably be one of many supportive gamers, to attempt, not simply to go play matches there, but additionally to do a marketing campaign. To go there and do much more than simply enjoying tennis.”
Jabeur, who just lately signed a sponsorship cope with Saudi Arabian Public Funding Fund-owned health and wellness model Kayanee, stated there are various misconceptions concerning the progress being made within the Kingdom.
“I really feel like individuals must be extra knowledgeable about what’s occurring in Saudi; extra knowledgeable about how the nation is getting higher and higher and I really feel prefer it’s essential to not simply hear to 1 facet; in something to be trustworthy with you, not simply on this matter, however to something,” stated the sixth-ranked Jabeur.
The 29-year-old confronted Aryna Sabalenka in an exhibition match in Riyadh in December, with Novak Djokovic squaring off with Carlos Alcaraz on the similar occasion the next day.
Past the exhibition matches, Saudi Arabia has made a number of strikes in tennis, staging the NextGen ATP Finals in Jeddah in December, as a part of a five-year deal, and appointing Rafael Nadal as an envoy for the Saudi Tennis Federation.
“I truthfully really feel so secure there and felt wonderful. I want to share this expertise with different gamers,” added Jabeur.
Jabeur was talking forward of her participation within the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open, a WTA 500 match which kicks off on Monday February 5.
The No.2 seed will start her marketing campaign in opposition to wildcard Emma Raducanu or Czech Marie Bouzkova and is slated to play doubles alongside former world primary Naomi Osaka.