Peng Shuai: ITF suspends tournaments in China

ITF has decided to suspend tournaments in China in 2022 due to concerns over Peng Shuai

Peng Shuai has denied allegations of sexual assault, raising concerns about her safety and freedom

Following WTA’s lead, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has also decided to suspend tournaments in China next year due to concerns over the well-being of Peng Shuai.

“No women’s or men’s ITF World Tennis Tour tournaments are scheduled to be played in China in 2022,” the ITf said in official communication with the players.

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In the last full season in 2019 before the pandemic, China hosted about 25 ITF women’s and 15 men’s events.

World Tennis Tour events are professional tournaments below the elite level. The ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour offers approximately 500 tournaments across 65 countries offering prize money from $15,000 to $100,000.

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The WTA had, last week, decided to suspend tournaments in China following Peng’s accusations of sexual assault against a former vice premier.

Peng, a former doubles World No 1, had posted a message on social media in November accusing China’s former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of forcing her into sex.

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Her whereabouts and well-being have become a matter of international concern since then.

Unlike the WTA, the ITF does not have major professional tournaments in China and is more focused on grassroots development events.

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“Health and safety is our priority,” the statement added.

“The ITF constantly monitors any risk and is committed to providing a safe environment for all players.”

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Though the men’s governing body, ATP, has voiced its support for Peng Shuai it remains the only tennis entity that has not suspended tour events in China yet.