News WTA eyes return to China in 2023 if Peng Shuai case settled

WTA eyes return to China in 2023 if Peng Shuai case settled

Women's tennis cancelled events in 2022 in China due to concern over the safety of Peng Shuai. Photo: EPA
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The head of the WTA has said the women’s tour hopes to return to China in 2023, having pulled events from the country this year due to concern over the safety of Chinese player Peng Shuai.

WTA chief Steve Simon confirmed there will be no events in China in 2022 but said the tour is ready to return next year if a resolution to the issue can be found that suits all parties.

Peng disappeared from the public eye late last year after making sexual harassment claims against a former high ranking politician on social media.

The post was soon deleted, any reference censored, and Peng later said she did not make the allegations.

She met International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach around the Beijing Winter Games in February but concerns around her wellbeing have remained.

Simon told The Tennis Podcast the WTA remains “dedicated to finding a resolution Peng can be comfortable with, the Chinese government can be comfortable with, and we can be comfortable with.

“We are not about walking away from China. We have suspended our operations there right now. We will continue to do that until we get to a resolution.

“We will stay resolute. We do hope to be back there in 2023 with the resolution that shows progress was made in the space. That’s a victory for the world if we can accomplish that.”