TAs the Peng Shuai affair is not cleared up, the WTA is suspending tournaments in China and Hong Kong. Steve Simon, president of the body of the association of tennis players, announced the news, with immediate effect, on Wednesday 1er December. “In good conscience, I don’t see how I can ask our athletes to participate in tournaments when Peng Shuai is not allowed to communicate freely and has apparently been pressured to reverse his allegations. ‘sexual abuse,’ he said in a statement.
No WTA tournament was planned before the end of the year and the 2022 schedule has yet to be released. During the 2019 season, the last not to have been impacted by the Covid-19, ten tournaments were organized in China, including the end-of-year women’s Masters which, with $ 14 million, had been better endowed financially. than their male counterpart. “In view of the current situation of the case, I am also very worried about the risks that all our players and our staff would take if we organize tournaments in China in 2022,” said Steve Simon.
“With the full support of the WTA Board of Directors, I am announcing the immediate suspension of all WTA tournaments in China, including Hong Kong.”
– wta (@WTA) December 1, 2021
The “full” support of Novak Djokovic
A decision that received the approval of Novak Djokovic, world No. 1 in tennis. The champion gave his “full” support because we “do not have enough information” on the situation of the player who accused of sexual abuse a former top Communist leader of her country. “His health is of the utmost importance to the world of tennis. It is not necessarily about her, it could be anyone, a player or a player, something like that must not happen, ”he reacted on the sidelines of the Davis Cup, estimating that the position of the WTA is “very bold and very courageous”.
Peng Shuai, 35, disappeared days in November after accusing a former top Chinese Communist leader of sexual abuse. Many stars of world tennis, from Chris Evert to Novak Djokovic and several Western countries, notably France and the United States but also the European Union and the United Nations, have asked Beijing to shed light on Peng’s fate. Shuai. The young woman reappeared on November 21 in a restaurant in Beijing and during a tennis tournament held in the Chinese capital, according to videos published by official media. She also spoke by videoconference with the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach.
Responses influenced by others
According to the IOC, Peng Shuai explained that she was “safe and sound” at her home in Beijing but that she would like her privacy to be respected. Chinese Olympic Committee member Li Lingwei participated in the video conference with Thomas Bach. The WTA announced last Saturday to Agence France-Presse that Steve Simon had sent two emails to the player but that it was “clear” that his answers were influenced by others, adding that he remained “deeply concerned” as to his situation.