The International Tennis Federation will allow the resumption of tournaments in China later this year, while the WTA is expected to soon announce the long-awaited decision on return to this Asian country.
Having not held tournaments in China since the COVID-19 pandemic, the ITF will bring this country back on the tennis map later this season, although the sport’s global governing body hasn’t provided further details. In the last full season before the pandemic in 2019, China had hosted 25 ITF women’s events and 15 men’s events.
The Women’s Tennis Association has also not staged events in China since 2019. The first reason was the coronavirus, then WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon made a bold decision to leave the lucrative Chinese market due to major concerns for the well-being of former top-ranked doubles player Peng Shuai, who accused a high-ranking Chinese official of sexual assault, then denied the allegations and disappeared from the public eye. That happened late in 2021 and the situation is still far from resolved. The WTA received multiple confirmations of Peng’s safety, but they are yet to meet her in person.
Sports Illustrated has an excellent article on this topic: “Peng Shuai’s condition is still unknown. And the WTA will soon have to choose: Principle or profit?” According to Reuters, the WTA’s decision on the return to China is “forthcoming” and the calendar for the rest of the season is due in the coming weeks.
In other news, the ITF will organize its first World Tennis Tour event in Ethiopia and return to Burundi and Cyprus for the first time since 2013 and 2016, respectively. (photo: Jimmie48)