December 2, 2021 12:08:48 pm
Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) founder Billie Jean King said the organisation was on “the right side of history” after it suspended tournaments in China due to concerns over the treatment of Peng Shuai.
WTA CEO Steve Simon made the announcement on Wednesday citing concerns over Peng, a former double’s world number one, after she posted a message on social media alleging that China’s former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli had sexually assaulted her.
Her whereabouts became a matter of international concern following a nearly three-week public absence, and Simon said the WTA had “serious doubts” that the three-time Olympian was safe.
“I applaud Steve Simon and the WTA leadership for taking a strong stand on defending human rights in China and around the world,” said King, a 12-time Grand Slam winner and pioneer for women’s sport.
“The WTA has chosen to be on the right side of history in defending the rights of our players. This is yet another reason why women’s tennis is the leader in women’s sports.
“A number of prominent tennis figures weighed in, with former world number one Andy Roddick tweeting that he was “proud to be in the tennis orbit”.
“There are a lot of organizations who can afford to do something like this a lot more than the WTA can,” he wrote.
France’s Alize Cornet tweeted: “What a leader.”
American Tennys Sandgren said he was “beyond proud” of the WTA and called on his fellow male competitors to act.”Yo men, let’s back the ladies up huh? We gonna sit this one out or what?”
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