Women’s tennis will continue to boycott China until there is a resolution to the Peng Shuai scandal, contrary to hints that they may return there next year.
Steve Simon, Chief Executive of the WTA Tour, has emphasised that they will not be ditching their principles and returning to what has become one of its key markets for tournaments.
A press release earlier this week seemingly suggested that the year-end finals would be held there in 2023, after the venue was announced for Fort Worth in Texas at the end of this season.
Using the phrase ‘with the event thereafter due to return to Shenzhen, China’, was widely interpreted as meaning that the tour was quietly dropping its stance.
However, Simon insists this will not be the case until there is more transparent information that former Wimbledon doubles champion Peng Shuai is living freely and safely.
Her whereabouts and living conditions have been the subject of mystery, ever since she alleged in November last year that former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli sexually assaulted her three years previously.
‘The WTA continues to work towards a resolution in China and are hopeful we will be in a position to operate events in the region in 2023 and beyond, but we will not compromise our founding principles in order to do so,’ Simon told Sportsmail.