NEW YORK (AP) — The women’s tennis tour will hold the WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico, from Oct. 29 to Nov. 5, finally finding a site for the season-ending event that has shifted cities repeatedly.
The tour has a one-year agreement with Cancun, the WTA announced Thursday, hours before the U.S. Open women's semifinals were scheduled to be played in New York.
There had been speculation in the tennis world that the tournament for the top eight singles players and top eight doubles teams could shift to Saudi Arabia, which has been pursuing opportunities in various sports, including tennis, and recently completed a deal for the men’s Next Gen ATP Finals in Jedda.
The choice of Cancun creates another long trip and quick turnaround for elite female tennis players because the Billie Jean King Cup finals — a competition for national teams run by the International Tennis Federation — will be in Seville, Spain, starting Nov. 7.
A year ago, the choice to host WTA Finals in Fort Worth, Texas, also was not announced until September.
At the time, top-ranked Iga Swiatek complained that the location and the timing — play wrapped up in Fort Worth one day before the start of the Billie Jean King Cup in Glasgow, Scotland — was a mistake. She played in Fort Worth and skipped the trip to Glasgow, saying: “This situation is not safe for our health and could cause injury.”
The WTA Finals originally were supposed to be played in Shenzhen, China, through 2030. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was canceled in 2020 and shifted to Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2021. Fort Worth was selected last year after the tour suspended all of its events in China because of concerns over the safety of Peng Shuai, a Grand Slam doubles champion who accused a government official of rape.
The tour said this April it would lift the China boycott, but when an updated 2023 schedule was revealed in June placing some other events in that country, no city was listed for the WTA Finals.
“The WTA weighed a number of competitive bids through a thorough process, in close consultation with the WTA Players’ Council,” the tour said Thursday in its announcement about Cancun. “Venue and partnership choices are based on multiple factors including player logistics, travel accessibility, venue capacity, and a commitment to supporting and showcasing women’s tennis.”
AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis