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World No. 5 Ons Jabeur fears that tennis stars will be playing in empty stadiums with no news on where the WTA finals will be held. The event, which takes place in late October, is still without a venue leaving both fans and players out of the loop.
Jabeur got knocked out of the Cincinnati Masters in the quarterfinals. The 28-year-old lost to Belarussian Aryna Sabalenka 7-5, 6-3.
Following the defeat Jabeur used her platform at the post-match press conference to hit out at the lack of news surrounding where the WTA finals will be played. Jabeur made history at the event last year becoming the first Arab woman to qualify for the event.
“It’s frustrating. I don’t know what’s happening and why we don’t know yet. We are waiting,” she said to reporters. “I heard a few cities. I’m not sure where.
“Some say Saudi. I’m not sure. It could be a great option for me, to be honest. But I need to qualify first and then see.
“I wish they can take the decision as soon as possible so we would know where we want to go and the fans would know so we don’t have empty stadiums and we can promote, you know, the WTA Finals as soon as possible.”
Fans were quick to agree on Twitter with one user posting: “Last year was a tragedy, we had great players in an empty house, I can’t believe WTA intends to repeat that mistake. Ons is 100% right.”
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Others agreed with one heaping praise on the four-time title winner, saying: “She has really become the spokesperson for the players & its refreshing to see someone really standing up & speaking up.”
Fans are understandably frustrated with the lack of clarity just weeks before the tournament is due to start. Last year’s tournament was held in Fort Worth, Texas, with Caroline Garcia claiming the trophy. The tournament was originally due to take place in Shenzhen, China, but was boycotted due to Peng Shuai’s sexual assault case.
Jabeur’s defeat means that Sabalenka will instead face Karolina Muchova in the Cincinnati semifinals. The winner will face either Iga Swiatek or Coco Gauff in the final.
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