Billie Jean King backs WTA in decision to suspend tournaments in China

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Billie Jean King backs WTA in decision to suspend tournaments in China

Tennis legend Billie Jean King has praised the WTA for taking a big stand against China and suspending all tournaments in China amid the Peng Shuai controversy. “I’m very happy the WTA stood for her. There will be a lot of challenges ahead of us, but standing up for human rights and abuse is really important.

I founded the organisation in 1973, so I’m really proud of us," King told Eurosport during the Sports Illustrated awards, as revealed on Tennis Up To Date. “I’m glad that the women are standing up for what’s right.

The main thing is that she’s safe and I hope she’s all right”. Also, King said she would love to see the ATP taking a bigger stand against China.

The WTA made King proud

After the WTA failed to get a verifiable proof that Peng was safe, they took a radical decision to suspend all tournaments in China and Hong Kong.

"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," WTA CEO Steve Simon said in a statement. "I very much regret it has come to this point.

The tennis communities in China and Hong Kong are full of great people with whom we have worked for many years. They should be proud of their achievements, hospitality and success. However, unless China takes the steps we have asked for, we cannot put our players and staff at risk by holding events in China.

China’s leaders have left the WTA with no choice. I remain hopeful that our pleas will be heard and the Chinese authorities will take steps to legitimately address this issue”.