The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced that it will hold tournaments in China this year, despite the unresolved case of Chinese doubles player Peng Shuai. Peng disappeared from public view shortly after accusing a former high-ranking Communist Party official of sexual assault in a web posting in November 2021.
The ITF’s first tournament in China is scheduled for June 5-11 at Luzhou, and the ITF anticipates a resumption of tournament activity within China for each of its tours later this year. The WTA, which runs the sport’s top-tier women’s events, has not announced if it will resume staging tournaments in China.
WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon announced in late 2021 that the WTA would be suspending all its tournaments held in China, including the season-ending WTA Finals, due to concerns over Peng.
The decision has cost the tour millions, but Simon has repeatedly called for a formal investigation into the allegations made by Peng and has asked to meet privately with her. However, it’s not clear whether those conditions have been met. Meanwhile, the men’s ATP has scheduled several events for later this year in China after canceling 2022 events due to COVID-19 restrictions in China.
Peng gave a controlled interview a year ago during the Winter Olympics in Beijing and had dinner with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach. However, she left many questions unanswered and has largely been out of public view since then. The ITF’s decision to hold tournaments in China this year has raised concerns over the unresolved case of Peng, and many are calling for a proper investigation into her allegations.