Steve Simon, head of the women's tennis organization WTA since 2015, is basically a pretty nondescript contemporary.
When he posed for a group photo with the winners for the first time in 2004, when he was still director of the prestigious tournament in Indian Wells, California, one could have thought, "Who is this accountant there?" A tennis magazine recently scoffed at.
Not even a Wikipedia entry has been made for the 66-year-old American.
Anyone looking for him in the online encyclopedia will instead find a Democratic regional politician of the same name, a physics professor from Oxford and a former military advisor to the US government.
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Simon, who competed in mixed doubles at Wimbledon in the 1980s, has left his role as a puller in the background for the past few days and weeks. In the case of the Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, who first made public allegations of abuse against a former vice head of government of China, was then censored, has since disappeared and is now only presented to the public in strange appearances, WTA managing director Simon has put on a different profile. While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and German President Thomas Bach claim that they are relying on "quiet diplomacy", Simon is not satisfied with China's assurances and Peng Shuai's alleged statements.
Already weeks ago, Simon announced that if necessary all WTA tournaments would be withdrawn from China if Peng's allegations were not subjected to a comprehensive and transparent investigation. Now he carried out his threat. The WTA is taking a completely different course than sports organizations have done in conflicts with China in the past. She accepts severe economic losses because she can stand up for one of her and her own basic convictions. "If powerful people can suppress women's voices and sweep allegations of sexual abuse under the rug, the foundation on which the WTA was founded - equality for women - would be immensely jeopardized," he wrote.
Simon's most outstanding achievement is ultimately to name the obvious.
If the video snippets, emails or interviews with Peng Shuai launched by China gave the impression of being bogus, then Simon said so too.
A supposed basic virtue that is not a matter of course in international sport diplomacy.
The sober look of an inconspicuous accountant can help in this regard.Keywords: