The WTA told Reuters that they had still not met Peng Shuai personally and will thus continue the suspension of women’s tennis tournaments in China.
Fourteen months after the former doubles No.1 Peng accused former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault and the WTA’s immediate reaction to suspend all events in China, we still don’t have a resolution. The 2023 WTA calendar has been confirmed only up to September, without clarity on tournaments to be staged in the Asian country.
Even though the WTA’s lack of presence in China costs the tour hundreds of millions of dollars in broadcasting and sponsorship, they stand by their bold decision to demand a definite resolution to this case. The WTA said they had received confirmation that the 36-year-old Peng was safe, but they insist to meet with her personally:
The case is extremely strange and mysterious. Peng first published a social media post accusing the 76-year-old high-ranking politician of pressuring her into having sex, but her confession soon disappeared from the Internet and she later denied having made the accusations. To make the situation even more confusing, Peng was in an on-off consensual relationship with Mr. Zhang for at least a decade, even though he had a wife.
Despite the huge financial toll, the WTA is not willing to compromise and will continue to demand answers until they absolutely confirm that Peng is free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion and intimidation.