WTA President and CEO Steve Simon has taken a strong stance against the tour’s biggest market since former world No. China on social media last month and quickly deleted.
The WTA was unable to obtain evidence that Peng was free from censorship and coercion, while Simon’s call for a full investigation of the 35-year-old appears to have fallen on deaf ears.
Simon said in a statement on Wednesday: “If the powerful can suppress women’s voices and sweep sexual assault allegations under the rug, then the basis on which the WTA is founded – on average equality for women – will suffer a huge setback. I will not and cannot let that happen to the WTA and its players.
“Given the current situation, I am also very worried about the risks that all our players and staff may face if we hold events in China in 2022.”
Peng’s welfare concerns have prompted a rare show of solidarity in tennis, but so far that doesn’t appear to have stretched into an all-sports boycott of China.
ATP President Andrea Gaudenzi said: “The situation regarding Peng Shuai continues to raise serious concerns inside and outside our sport. Answers to those concerns have so far been lacking.
“We are again calling for an open line of direct communication between the player and the WTA to establish a clearer picture of her situation.
“We know that sport can have a positive effect on society and generally believe that a global presence gives us the best opportunity to create opportunity and make an impact.
“We will continue to consult with members and monitor any developments as this matter evolves.”
The International Tennis Federation, which runs events at the sport’s lower levels, also did not mention pulling out of the country in its statement, saying: “The International Tennis Federation , as the governing body of tennis, upholds all women’s rights.
“Our primary concern remains Peng Shuai’s health. The allegations made by Peng must be addressed. We will continue to support all efforts that are being made to achieve that goal, both publicly and behind the scenes. ”
The tournaments have not been held in China for two years because of the coronavirus pandemic and no schedule has been scheduled for the first part of 2022, meaning the governing bodies have the capacity to do so. wait and see method now.
The International Olympic Committee is just two months away from the Winter Olympics in Beijing and the boycott debate is intensifying.
NS IOC on Thursday revealed it held a second video call with Peng and released a statement much stronger than last month’s statement that was mocked by many while once again emphasizing his beliefs. they go into diplomacy.
“We share the same concern as many other people and organizations about Peng Shuai’s health and safety,” the organization said in a statement.
“This is why, just yesterday, an IOC team held another video call with her. We have asked for her generous support, will stay in regular contact with her, and have agreed to a personal meeting in January.
“There are different ways to achieve her health and safety. We took a very human and human-centered approach to her situation. As she is a three-time athlete, the IOC is addressing these concerns directly with the Chinese sports organisations.
“We are using ‘quiet diplomacy,’ which, according to the circumstances and based on the experience of governments and other organisations, has been shown to be the most promising way to proceed effectively on these issues. such a humanitarian issue.
“The IOC efforts led to a half-hour video conference with Peng Shuai on November 21 in which she explained her situation and appeared safe and well, under difficult circumstances. that she is facing.
“This was confirmed in the call yesterday. Our people and people-centered approach means that we continue to care about her personal situation and will continue to support her.”
Novak Djokovic supported the suspension, saying: “I fully support the position of the WTA as we do not have enough information about Peng Shuai and her state of health, and her health is of paramount importance. to the tennis community.
“We don’t have enough information and I think that’s a very bold, very courageous stance from the WTA.”
Human rights charity Amnesty International also offered support and called on the international community to continue to put pressure on China.
Doriane Lau, Amnesty China researcher, said: “The WTA’s decision to suspend the tournaments in China after not being fully answered about freedom of movement, happiness and The safety of tennis player Peng Shuai shows that they take their accountability seriously.
“This move, along with messages of support from some of the biggest stars in the tennis world, has also sent the authorities in China a much-needed message that their efforts to eradicate these This charge will not be challenged.
“The international community should continue to urge the Chinese government to investigate all allegations of sexual violence in a timely and effective manner.
“They should also ask the Chinese government to ensure that survivors have a platform to express themselves freely and without any adverse consequences.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/peng-shuai-atp-china-tournaments-b1968772.html Peng Shuai: ATP expresses safety concerns but does not suspend tournaments in China