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‘They left us no choice’ – WTA suspends all events in China

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The CEO of the WTA has announced that effective immediately all tour events staged in China are now suspended.

WTA chief Steve Simon has released a statement outlining the decision by the WTA to suspend tournaments in China.

Simon had previously threatened to withdraw the WTA from China multiple times due to dissatisfaction with the handling of Peng Shuai’s overall situation, and allegations, by Chinese officials.

Now, he and the organisation he heads have taken such a step.

“When on 2nd November, 2021, Peng Shuai posted an allegation of sexual assault against a top Chinese government official, the Women’s Tennis Association recognised that Peng Shuai’s message had to be listened to and taken seriously,” the statement begins.

“The players of the WTA, not to mention women around the world, deserve nothing less.

“Unfortunately, the leadership in China has not addressed this very serious issue in any credible way.

“While we now know where Peng is, I have serious doubts that she is free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion and intimidation.

“The WTA has been clear on what is needed here, and we repeat our call for a full and transparent investigation – without censorship – into Peng Shuai’s sexual assault accusation.

“As a result, and with the full support of the WTA Board of Directors, I am announcing the immediate suspension of all WTA tournaments in China, including Hong Kong.”

In the last full season with a proper swing in China, the WTA had nine events there.

The last of those was the prestigious WTA Finals, the first one held in Shenzhen as part of a new deal for the elite competition to be held there.

The current deal should see the event take place in Shenzhen until at least 2030, with this latest announcement throwing that deal into serious doubt.

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