WTA not returning to China in 2022, wants a resolution to the Peng Shuai case

The WTA is currently seeking to resolve the deadlock with China over the Peng Shuai case. But Tour chief Steve Simon has stated that the WTA will not return to China this year.

The WTA was concerned about the former world no. 1’s well-being after she posted a message on social media in November. It was about allegedly accusing China’s former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into sex in the past. Peng later clarified that everyone misinterpreted her message.

Peng vanished from public view for three weeks after the post was taken down. The WTA halted all tournaments in China the following month. It is a decision that is likely to cost the elite women’s tour hundreds of millions of dollars in broadcasting and sponsorship.

“We remain dedicated to finding a resolution to this,” Simon told The Tennis Podcast. “We want to find a resolution that Peng can be comfortable with, the Chinese government can be comfortable with, and we can be comfortable with. We are not about to walk away from China. We have suspended our operations there right now. We will continue to do that until we get to a resolution.

“We will stay resolute. We do hope to be back there in 2023 with a resolution that shows progress was made in the space. That’s a victory for the world if we can accomplish that.”

WTA not returning to China in 2022, wants a resolution to the Peng Shuai case

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Peng had effectively retired from professional tennis. She made an appearance at the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February. Thus, claiming that her post had been misconstrued and that she had not accused anyone of sexual assault. She went on to say that she had erased the social media post herself and that she had not “disappeared”. The WTA, however, maintained its demand for a formal investigation into Peng’s charges and a private meeting with her to discuss the situation.

“We have not had any recent communication with Peng and the world has not seen Peng since the Olympics either,” Simon said. “I don’t think you will make a change in this world by walking away from issues. You have to create change. It might not be everything we want. But we have to find a solution that finds that balance that allows us to go back and see progress in the area.“

The WTA is yet to release its 2022 calendar of events following the US Open grand slam in September. But Simon predicted that the governing body would provide a “fairly solid” autumn schedule in the coming weeks.

While there have been signs of cooperation between the ATP Tour and the WTA since the outbreak of COVID-19, the men’s Tour has maintained its presence in China and will host four tournaments there this season. Simon stated that he respected the ATP’s stance.

“Their difference is that … they don’t have a member that’s affected there,” Simon added. “They will have to make their own decisions at this point in time. Would we love to have their support on what we are standing for there and the issues? Absolutely. But we are not trying to influence their decision in any way, it has to be theirs.”

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