WTA Tour: Ons Jabeur 'pushing for change' as Saudi Arabia eyes Finals

Ons Jabeur poses with fans back home in Tunisia
Tunisia's Ons Jabeur has been a trailblazer in Arab sport

US Open 2023

Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 28 August-10 September

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Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur says she is "pushing for change" in Saudi Arabia and would use a WTA event held there as an opportunity to inspire other women.

Saudi Arabia has held talks with the women's tour about hosting its end-of-season Finals, BBC Sport understands.

But the possibility of the WTA going to a nation where women face discrimination has been criticised.

"As an Arab player, I'd be very excited to be there," said Tunisia's Jabeur, speaking at the US Open in New York.

"I am someone pushing for a change, pushing to give more and more opportunities especially for women."

Former world number one Martina Navratilova said she would not go to compete in Saudi if she was still playing, having previously said she was "heartbroken" that current players would go there.

Saudi Arabia has long been criticised for issues around human rights, including a lack of women's rights, the criminalisation of homosexuality, the restriction of free speech and the use of the death penalty.

The nation has used its financial power to increase influence in the sporting world over recent years, leading to accusations of 'sportswashing' in an attempt to improve its global reputation.

Russian world number 13 Daria Kasatkina, who is openly gay, has expressed her concern about playing in Saudi.

In June, the WTA chief executive Steve Simon said the women's tour "can't walk away from" the Saudi question, but there are still "tonnes of issues" to be resolved.

It is thought the WTA will consider over the next fortnight whether to hold the end-of-season Finals in Saudi.

"I know in Saudi they're changing things and they're evolving," said world number five Jabeur.

"I've been there last year to give a speech and interview there. It was very nice meeting a lot of amazing women there. For me, I was trying to push to have tennis in Saudi.

"I think it's a great step. I think it's something that could help the Arab world to have more tennis players, to get more involved in sports.

"If they play there, and hopefully if I qualify, it will be a great honour and opportunity for me to go and play there, especially meeting a lot of women. They told me they look up to me.

"That would be a great opportunity for me to meet them and speak to them."