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The Womens Tennis Association has been hailed in recent days for its bold stance on Peng Shuai, the prominent Chinese tennis player who disappeared from view last month after accusing a powerful retired politician of sexual assault. Organization chief Steve Simon announced Wednesday that the WTA would cancel all upcoming tournaments in China until he is convinced Peng is safe and acting on his own accord, a decision that could cost the WTA hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. cost. . And Simon made it clear that the China-promoting International Olympic Committees recently opaque call Peng, after which officials claimed she was fine and insisted their approach to quiet diplomacy fell short of that requirement.
On Thursday, the ATP, the organization that controls the men’s tennis tour with the exception of the four Grand Slam tournaments, announced its own updated statement on the matter na looking for an investigation in November, as does the International Tennis Federation, which hosts the Grand Slams. Neither response was inspiring.
The situation around Peng Shuai continues to be a cause for concern within and beyond our sport, the ATP statement read in part. The response to those concerns has so far been inadequate. We once again urge a line of open direct communication between the player and the WTA to get a clearer picture of her situation.
The ATP, like the WTA, regularly hosts tournaments in China, but there is no mention of any repercussions or consequences for Beijing in this passive message, nor in the statement from the ITF, which emphasizes that our primary concern is the well-being of Peng Shuai. stays. It makes no sense that such demands will be made, even if the status quo persists. And as tennis writer Ben Rothenberg notices, neither statement even mentions China.
Multiple players, including 26th-ranked American Reilly Opelka, tweeted their dismay with the statement:
In the wake of Peng Shuais’ disappearance and strange return, an open question has been how sports leagues are taking their stances against China, a hugely lucrative market whose authoritarian government has also caused many headaches for Western sports in recent years. or not recalibrate. While the IOC stumbles over itself not to offend the country, which will host the Winter Olympics in February, other professional sports have a chance to act tough or at least talk. So far, the WTA is alone on that front.
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