ATP criticized for not joining WTA in tournament suspension in China – .

ATP criticized for not joining WTA in tournament suspension in China – .

Peng Shuai has now held two video meetings with the International Olympic Committee

ATP has come under fire for failing to join the WTA in suspending tournaments in China amid lingering concerns for Peng Shuai.

The WTA said he was concerned on the risks players and staff could face if events unfold in China.

An ATP statement said the organization believes “having a global presence gives us the best chance to create opportunities and make an impact.”

Martina Navratilova was among those who criticized ATP’s position.

Peng, 35, disappeared from public view for three weeks after accusing a senior Chinese official of sexual assault.

The WTA on Wednesday suspended tournaments in China, one of its most lucrative markets, over concerns for Peng’s safety.

The International Olympic Committee later said it had set up a second video call with Peng, but shared concerns for his safety.

There had been calls for the Men’s ATP Tour to adopt a similar response to the WTA, but he did not suspend the tournaments in a statement released Thursday.

ATP President Andrea Gaudenzi said, “The situation involving Peng Shuai continues to raise serious concerns within and beyond our sport.

“The response to these concerns has so far been insufficient.

“We will continue to consult with our members and monitor any developments as this issue evolves. “

The statement has been criticized by some for not going far enough.

Eighteen-time Grand Slam champion Navratilova tweeted: “Are we to understand that ATP would have made the same statement if the player had been a man? In a way, I don’t think so.

Former world number one Andy Roddick notedexternal link the statement showed “how to say a lot of words and say nothing” while fellow American Mardy Fish demand:external link “Is that a statement?” “

Britain’s Liam Broady, who tweeted Thursday calling for “a united response across all organizations,” also criticized ATP.

The sport’s governing body, the International Tennis Federation, also said it “will continue to support all efforts” to address Peng’s claim.

IOC agrees ‘personal meeting’ with Peng

The IOC said it agreed to “a personal meeting” with Peng in January.

“There are different ways to ensure their well-being and safety,” the IOC said in a statement.

“We took a very human and person-centered approach to her situation. We use “quiet diplomacy” which, given the circumstances and based on the experience of governments and other organizations, is shown to be the most promising way to proceed effectively in these humanitarian issues.

“We share the same concern as many other people and organizations regarding the welfare and safety of Peng Shuai. That’s why, just yesterday, an IOC team organized another video call with her.

“We have offered her a wide support, will keep in regular contact with her and have already arranged a personal meeting in January. ”

The governing body of world tennis, the International Tennis Federation, said its main concern was Peng’s well-being.

“The ITF supports all women’s rights”, a short statement read.external link

“Peng’s allegations must be addressed. We will continue to support all efforts to this end, both publicly and behind the scenes. “

The CIOs initially held a video call with three-time Olympian Peng November 21 and a a video appeared to show her attending an exhibition tournament in Beijing the same weekend.

Her disappearance, after accusing former vice premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault, sparked widespread concern, with international sports stars and governments calling on China to provide proof that she was safe.

The IOC said Peng “appeared to be safe” during the November appeal and said that was “reconfirmed” on Wednesday.

The WTA said Peng’s video call in November was “insufficient proof” of his safety.

Steve Simon, the organization’s president, said he was “very concerned” about the risks players and staff could face if events were to take place in China in 2022.

Simon told BBC Sport he was worried about the financial implications of not playing in China, but Peng’s case was “more important than the company”.

Peng won the Grand Slam doubles events at Wimbledon in 2013 and at Roland Garros in 2014.

Since his disappearance, tennis stars, including Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic, have worried about his fate.

‘A stronger second call’ – analysis

Robin Brant, BBC China correspondent

This statement is stronger than what we got from the IOC following that Zoom call between Thomas Bach and Peng Shuai just over a week ago.

It seems that the IOC is trying to defend its position as an intermediary.

The IOC was heavily criticized as being seen as an extension of the Chinese state following the initial Zoom appeal.

The IOC tries to be apolitical, but at the same time, it and the authorities in Beijing want to organize a Winter Olympics there in February that go well and show the world that China can host these Games again.

However, their biggest concern in China, frankly, is about Covid and the ongoing talks and possible threats of some sort of diplomatic boycott, with the United States leading the charge on this.


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