Martina Navratilova praises WTA, rips IOC over behavior in Peng Shuai case

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Martina Navratilova praises WTA, rips IOC over behavior in Peng Shuai case

Former world No. 1 Martina Navratilova was full of praise for the WTA and their decision to suspend all tournaments scheduled to take place in China next year. The WTA tried multiple times to get into a direct contact with Peng Shuai but their every try was unsuccessful.

Peng went missing in China after accusing a former vice premier of sexual assault and the WTA made a radical decision after China failed to give them a verifiable proof that Peng was indeed safe and well. Navratilova blasted the IOC -- who twice released a statement claiming that Peng was safe and doing well.

"This is a brave stance by Steve Simon and the WTA where we put principle above $ and stand up for women everywhere and particularly for Peng Shuai," Navratilova tweeted. "Now - what say you, @IOC ?!? #IOC - so far I can barely hear you!!!"

The WTA doubt Peng is actually safe and well

"Unfortunately, the leadership in China has not addressed this very serious issue in any credible way.

While we now know where Peng is, I have serious doubts that she is free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion and intimidation. The WTA has been clear on what is needed here, and we repeat our call for a full and transparent investigation – without censorship – into Peng Shuai’s sexual assault accusation," WTA CEO Steve Simon announced in a statement released on Wednesday.

"As a result, and with the full support of the WTA Board of Directors, I am announcing the immediate suspension of all WTA tournaments in China, including Hong Kong. In good conscience, I don’t see how I can ask our athletes to compete there when Peng Shuai is not allowed to communicate freely and has seemingly been pressured to contradict her allegation of sexual assault.

Given the current state of affairs, I am also greatly concerned about the risks that all of our players and staff could face if we were to hold events in China in 2022."