WTA Tour Seeks Chinese language Inquiry Into Participant’s Sexual Assault Accusation

However Simon stated that nobody related to the WTA Tour, together with officers and lively gamers, had been capable of attain her immediately to verify her standing.

“My understanding is that she is in Beijing in China, however I can’t affirm that as a result of I haven’t spoken immediately along with her,” Simon stated.

Martina Navratilova, a former No. 1 participant, was among the many tennis stars who supported the WTA Tour’s demand for motion on Peng’s accusations. “A really robust stance by the WTA — and the proper stance,” Navratilova wrote on Twitter.

However Simon acknowledged that the tour could have little leverage to affect Chinese language officialdom.

“It’s unknown,” he stated. “I’m not sitting right here and pondering that I’m going to resolve the world’s issues by any means. However what I’m right here to do is that we’ve an athlete that’s a part of the WTA household that’s come out with critical allegations. We’re going to be 100 p.c supportive of that, and we need to see a full investigation on this. If that isn’t the case and if they don’t seem to be cooperative, then we’ll should make some selections, and we’re ready to take action, and that’s one of the best we are able to do. However we’re not going to again off this place. It’s the precise place to be.”

Chinese language authorities have retaliated towards sports activities leagues when confronted with outdoors criticism. In 2019, broadcasts of the N.B.A. had been briefly halted on Chinese language state tv when Daryl Morey, a former Houston Rockets government who’s now with the Philadelphia 76ers, tweeted his solidarity with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. The league’s commissioner, Adam Silver, later stated that the fallout had value the league a whole bunch of tens of millions of {dollars}. Final month, Boston Celtics video games had been pulled from the Chinese language web after Enes Kanter, one of many crew’s gamers, referred to as President Xi Jinping of China a “brutal dictator” on social media.

“Look, I can’t communicate to the choices that the N.B.A. made,” Simon stated. “They’d, clearly, totally different points. However on this scenario, the WTA problem is about potential sexual assault of one in all our gamers. That’s one thing that merely can’t be compromised. And I feel in case you have a look at our world as we speak, and the best way that selections are being made, there are simply manner too many choices which can be being compromised.”

The WTA Tour has more and more centered on the Chinese language market during the last decade, culminating with the 10-year deal to stage the tour finals in Shenzhen that started in 2019. Simon stated the Chinese language organizers deliberate to take a position “multiple billion {dollars}” over the lifetime of the deal, together with the price of a brand new stadium, and so they doubled the occasion’s prize cash to $14 million. However the 2020 finals, together with most Chinese language tournaments, had been canceled due to the pandemic. Not one of the 11 scheduled WTA tournaments in China had been held this 12 months as China continued to limit foreigners from coming into the nation. The WTA has managed to fill the slots on the calendar with new or momentary occasions, typically with smaller purses. The WTA Finals, which is able to conclude on Wednesday, had been moved to Guadalajara, Mexico, the place prize cash is a relatively low $5 million however enthusiasm and crowds have been vital.

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