WTA continues to insist on face-to-face meeting with Peng Shuai before returning to China

©  AP

It remains unclear whether any WTA tournaments will take place in China this year. The WTA, the umbrella tennis federation for women, insists on a personal meeting with player Peng Shuai for a return. The Chinese former number one in the world in doubles disappeared from the globe for three weeks at the end of 2021 after accusing former deputy prime minister Zhang Gaoli of sexual abuse.

BelgianBron: BELGIAN

There are no tournaments after September on the provisional WTA calendar for 2023. It remains unclear for the time being whether Chinese tournaments can take place. “Our position on returning to China has not changed. We have therefore only confirmed our calendar for 2023 up to and including the US Open,” the WTA said in a response.

“Peng took a bold step by coming forward publicly with the allegation of sexual abuse by a senior Chinese government leader. As we would for all our players, we have called for a formal investigation into the allegations and the opportunity to meet with Peng privately to discuss her situation privately.”

©  AFP

That opportunity did not come yet. “We have received confirmation that she is safe, but have not yet met her in person,” the WTA said.

IOC president Thomas Bach and journalists from the French sports newspaper L’Equipe were able to speak to her last year, but under the supervision of Chinese officials. The WTA removed all Chinese tournaments from its calendar last year because of the case, a courageous decision given the great financial importance of the Chinese tour.

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