Martina Navratilova won't travel to Saudi Arabia for WTA Finals after sentencing of women's rights activist

Friday, 03 May 2024 at 09:17
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Martina Navratilova says she has 'no plans' to travel Saudi Arabia which means effectively she will not be doing any work at the WTA Finals. This comes after a women's rights activist was sentenced in the Gulf nation which brings more spotlight on the WTA's decision.
As per The Guardian, Manahel al-Otaibi, a fitness trainer was imprisoned for 11 years by Saudi counter terrorism in January on the charge of using websites to 'broadcast or publish news, statements, false or malicious rumours, or the like for committing a terrorist crime'. The Saudis accused al-Otabi of advocating for the removal of male guardianship and was arrested in November 2022 before the sentencing.
"Hmm," she wrote in resharing the development before being asked if she had any plans to go to Saudi Arabia. "I hope you're not going there," a fan wrote. "Nope. No plans for it at this time," she quipped. This is no surprise given that Navratilova in the first place advocated against even hosting the WTA Finals in Saudi Arabia for the human rights and LGBTQI+ issues that have previously affected the perception of the region.
Others hit out at her and Evert including embassy officials with an invite given for the duo to head to the country to see for themselves. But it seems they won't be accepting that invite. A few months later, the long-awaited announcement of the WTA's plans was set to sign a deal until 2027 to play the finals in Riyadh.

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