This fall, the WTA is returning to tournament play in China, which it paused in late 2021 amid concerns over player safety.
The organization suspended play as it awaited answers from authorities in China about player Peng Shuai, who spoke out and accused a retired vice premier in the country of forcing her into sex throughout the years. Fears emerged that the Chinese government was keeping her from coming out in public, and she wasn’t seen until the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022, where she met with Olympic officials.
Despite the WTA still having unanswered questions, officials have decided to add China back to its 2023 schedule, beginning in September.
“After 16 months of suspended tennis competition in China and sustained efforts at achieving our original requests, the situation has shown no sign of changing,” the WTA said in a statement. “We have concluded we will never fully secure those goals, and it will be our players and tournaments who ultimately will be paying an extraordinary price for their sacrifices.
“For these reasons, the WTA is lifting its suspension of the operation of tournaments in the People’s Republic of China and will resume tournaments.”
The WTA said it is convinced that Shuai is safe.
“We have not been able to achieve everything we set out for, but we have been in touch with people close to Peng and are assured she is living safely with her family in Beijing,” the statement read. “We also have received assurances that WTA players and staff operating in China will be safe and protected while in the country. The WTA takes this commitment seriously and will hold all parties responsible.”
The tournament locations and dates were not announced.
–Field Level Media