WTA ANNOUNCES IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION OF TOURNAMENT OVER PENG SHUAI’S CASE
Written by Sarah Osanyinlusi on December 2, 2021
The Women’s Tennis Association has announced the immediate suspension of all tournaments in China amid concern for Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai following her disappearance from public view after accusing a top Chinese official former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault.
WTA chief Steve Simon said, “In good conscience, I don’t see how I can ask our athletes to compete there,”. He said he had “serious doubts” that Peng was “free, safe and not subject to intimidation”.
Responding, China said it “opposes the politicization of sports”.
The WTA has repeatedly called for a full investigation into Peng’s claims.
Meanwhile, some players including Shelby Rogers, Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova as well as Julian Knight MP have given their support for the WTA’s decision.
World number one Novak Djokovic backed the WTA’s “very bold and very courageous” move and said Peng’s health was of the “utmost importance to the world of tennis”…..“I support fully the WTA’s stance because we don’t have enough information about Peng Shuai and her well-being,”.
Former world number one and WTA founder Billie Jean King praised the organisation for taking a strong stand. He tweeted “This is another reason why women’s tennis is the leader in women’s sports,” King wrote on Twitter.
The suspension includes tournaments in Hong Kong.