The return of the WTA tournaments to China in 2023 will depend on a resolution of the problem from Peng Shuai, the governing body of the women’s game having told Reuters that it has still not met the former world doubles No. 1 personally. Chinese.
Peng had accused former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault in 2021 in a social media post that was quickly deleted from the country’s internet. She later denied making the charge.
Peng’s post caused an international outcry for her safety and led the WTA to suspend tournaments in China – a move that is expected to cost the women’s circuit hundreds of millions of dollars in broadcast and sponsorship.
A tentative 2023 tournament schedule released late last year listed the WTA schedule through September, but there was no clarity on which events would be held in China.
“There has been no change in the WTA’s position regarding a return to China and we have only confirmed our 2023 schedule until the US Open,” the WTA said in a statement.
“A return to the region will require a resolution to Peng’s situation in which she took a bold step by publicly speaking out against the accusation that she was sexually assaulted by a senior Chinese government official.
“As we would with any of our players around the world, we have requested a formal investigation into the allegations by the relevant authorities and an opportunity for the WTA to meet with Peng – privately – to discuss his situation.”
The WTA said it has received confirmation that Peng is safe and comfortable, but has yet to meet her personally.
“We continue to hold our position firmly and our thoughts remain with Peng,” the statement added. “The WTA continues to work towards a resolution.
“Although we have always indicated that we hope to be able to organize WTA events in the region again, we will not compromise our founding principles to do so.”
In July last year, men’s governing body ATP canceled its events in China due to the country’s Covid-19 crisis.