The WTA might be the next target for Saudi Arabia’s sporting charm offensive, with reports suggesting that the kingdom might be offered the chance to host a women’s tennis event.

With the controversial USD 2 billion LIV golf series floundering in backlash from Western nations, London’s Telegraph suggests that the women’s sanctioning body has not ruled out an approach from the Saudis, who are the target of heavy criticism for repeated human rights abuses.

“We have received inquiries from Saudi Arabia as to interest in bringing a WTA event to the region,” a WTA spokesman said. .

“As a global organisation, we are always interested and appreciative of inquiries received from anywhere in the world and we look seriously at what each opportunity may bring [but] we have not entered into formal negotiations.”

WTA boss Steve Simon has been a vocal opponent of China after the Peng Shuai “disappearance” of late 2021 and pulled more than 10 tournaments from the country on short notice this season.

While the ATP is apparently going ahead with autumn events – COVID regulations permitting – in Beijing and Shanghai, the men’s organisation has firmly closed the door on any Saudi collaboration.