ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi has advocated unity with the WTA.
When it comes to China, the ATP is distancing itself from the WTA.
The day after WTA CEO Steve Simon announced the women’s tour is suspending all 2022 tournaments in China in support of Peng Shuai, the ATP announced it will not cancel its events in China.
While Simon said the WTA will consider extending its suspension of China events beyond 2022 if there is not an independent investigation into Peng Shuai’s allegations of sexual assault against a former Chinese Vice Premier, the ATP takes a different tact.
The ATP Chairman says continuing to do business in China is “the best chance of creating opportunity and making an impact.”
“We know that sport can have a positive influence on society and generally believe that having a global presence gives us the best chance of creating opportunity and making an impact,” Gaudenzi said. “We will continue to consult with our members and monitor any developments as this issue evolves.”
Steve Simon said he’s gratified by support the Tour has received and hopes leaders will continue to speak out in support of Peng Shuai’s cause and to protect the safety of players.
“The WTA will do everything possible to protect its players,” Simon said. “As we do so, I hope leaders around the world will continue to speak out so justice can be done for Peng, and all women, no matter the financial ramification.”
The PTPA, led by world No. 1 Djokovic, issued a statement supporting the WTA and said hosting tournaments “on the Chinese soil without resolving this situation, it would be a little strange.”
“I support the statement of WTA as an organization and also their president absolutely,” Djokovic said.
Djokovic called for solidarity between the ATP and WTA Tours as well.
“The whole community, tennis community, needs to back her up and her family, make sure that she’s safe and sound because if you would have tournaments on the Chinese soil without resolving this situation, it would be a little bit strange,” Djokovic said. “I do understand why WTA has taken a stance like that.”
The ATP, despite nearly year-long calls for unity from its leaders, is not standing with the WTA taking action in China.
— Professional Tennis Players Association (@ptpaplayers) November 18, 2021
ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi Statement:
“The situation involving Peng Shuai continues to raise serious concerns within and beyond our sport. The response to those concerns has so far fallen short. We again urge for a line of open direct communication between the player and the WTA in order to establish a clearer picture of her situation.
“We know that sport can have a positive influence on society and generally believe that having a global presence gives us the best chance of creating opportunity and making an impact.
“We will continue to consult with our members and monitor any developments as this issue evolves.”
Photo credit: ATP