ATP urges 'communication' not boycott over Peng Shuai row, shies away from backing WTA's stance

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi admitted concerns over the welfare of 35-year-old Peng who has not been seen for weeks following her allegations of sexual assault against a former Communist Party leader

Agence France-Presse December 03, 2021 11:39:29 IST
ATP urges 'communication' not boycott over Peng Shuai row, shies away from backing WTA's stance

File image of Peng Shuai. AP

Paris, France: The head of the ATP on Thursday shied away from joining the WTA in boycotting all China tournaments over the Peng Shuai affair, insisting that a "global presence gives us the best chance of making an impact".

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi admitted concerns over the welfare of 35-year-old Peng, a doubles champion at Wimbledon and the French Open, who has not been seen for weeks following her allegations of sexual assault against a former Communist Party leader.

"The situation involving Peng Shuai continues to raise serious concerns within and beyond our sport," said Gaudenzi in a statement.

"The response to those concerns has so far fallen short. We again urge for a line of open direct communication between the player and the WTA in order to establish a clearer picture of her situation.

"We know that sport can have a positive influence on society and generally believe that having a global presence gives us the best chance of creating opportunity and making an impact."

The WTA on Wednesday said it was suspending all tournaments in China because of what its chairman called "serious doubts" about the safety of Peng.

WTA chair and CEO Steve Simon said the move — which could cost the Women's Tennis Association hundreds of millions of dollars — had the "full support" of the tour's board of directors.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF), meanwhile, said they shared the concerns over Peng's well-being.

"Peng's accusations must be dealt with," the ITF said in a statement on Thursday.

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