The rag is burning between Beijing and the WTA, following the Peng Shuai affair.

"We are firmly opposed to any politicization of sport," Chinese diplomacy spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters on Thursday.

A reaction to the decision of the body which manages the women's tennis circuit to suspend tournaments in China in support of the tennis player, who accused a former senior Chinese leader of sexual assault.

Tennis stars have on the contrary welcomed the initiative of the WTA taken, according to its president Steve Simon, because of "serious doubts" about the freedom of movement of the player, ex-winner of Wimbledon and Roland- Doubles open.

Billie Jean King, 12 Grand Slam singles tournaments to her name, said the WTA "is on the right side of history."

“What a leader”, for his part wrote on Twitter the French Alizé Cornet to the address of Steve Simon.

"I fully support the position of the WTA because we do not have enough information" on Peng Shuai, said for his part the world No. 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic.

What a leader ✊

- Alize Cornet (@alizecornet) December 1, 2021

Martina Navratilova, the second most successful player in women's tennis, hailed the WTA on Thursday for its "courageous position" where "we put principles before dollars".

She also called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC): “I can hardly hear you!

“, Launched the ex-champion, accusing the organization of being too discreet since the beginning of the case.

The withdrawal decided by the WTA could eventually cost the organization millions of euros, as China is one of its biggest markets.

The former world number 1 Andy Roddick underlined the risk taken according to him by Steve Simon: “Acting well is much easier when it costs nothing.



The Chinese circuit frozen by the Covid

The Asian country has not, however, hosted any WTA tournaments recently due to the Covid-19 and is unlikely to have hosted any in the near future.

During the 2019 season, the last not to have been affected by the epidemic, ten tournaments were organized in China, including the end-of-year women's Masters which, with $ 14 million, had been better endowed financially than their male counterparts.


Peng Shuai case: WTA suspends tournaments in China, whatever the cost


Peng Shuai case: The boss of the WTA "deeply concerned about the freedom" of the player

  • Alizé Cornet

  • Novak Djokovic

  • Andy Roddick

  • WTA

  • Women's tennis

  • China

  • Sport

  • Tennis

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