ATP statement heavily criticised amidst Peng Shuai sexual assault censorship controversy
ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi has come under widespread criticism for not mirroring the WTA’s tournament withdrawal from China amidst the ongoing Peng Shuai sexual assault censorship controversy.
WTA CEO and chairman Steve Simon had threatened to pull events from China should they refuse or fail to cooperate in a “full, fair and transparent investigation” into Peng Shuai’s sexual assault allegations made against former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli.
With China’s subsequent failure to comply and apparent censorship attempts, the WTA recently announced that they would be withdrawing all tour events set to be staged in China, including the prestigious WTA Finals.
ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi also released a statement regarding Peng’s situation that read “the situation involving Peng Shuai continues to raise serious concerns within and beyond our sport.
“The response to those concerns has so far fallen short. We again urge for a line of open direct communication between the player and the WTA in order to establish a clearer picture of her situation.
“We know that sport can have a positive influence on society and generally believe that having a global presence gives us the best chance of creating opportunity and making an impact.
“We will continue to consult with our members and monitor any developments as this issue evolves.”
However, the statement has been widely criticised by many players, past and present, for being too “weak”, particularly regarding the severity of the situation.
US Open champion Andy Roddick said on Twitter “how to say a lot of words and say nothing [at the same time],” whilst 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova was also highly critical of Gaudenzi’s statement.
Are we to understand that the @ATP would have made the same statement had the player been a male? An atp tour pro?!? Somehow I think not.#embarassing https://t.co/eokSqwXQbu
— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) December 2, 2021
However, World number two Daniil Medvedev took a more measured approach and praised the WTA’s response but refused to criticise the ATP for “not doing the same thing.”
Medvedev said “I don’t want to blame anybody for not doing, let’s say, the same thing. Maybe Andrea [Gaudenzi] has a different opinion on what to do in this situation and how to react.
“I don’t want to say which one is good or bad. But definitely what [the] WTA did is strong. Yeah, there was a lot of money involved there. It’s really strong from Simon to make this decision.”
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