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Global tennis body won’t suspend events in China



The president of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) told the BBC that it did not have plans to suspend events in China amid widespread concern for player Peng Shuai.

Peng, the former doubles world number one, made a sexual assault accusation against former Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli and then disappeared from public view last month, prompting the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) to suspended its lucrative tournaments in China last week.

ITF President David Haggerty said the sport’s governing body, which oversees the Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup along with a number of lower-level tournaments, did not have plans to follow suit.

IFT President David Haggerty has said that the allegations Peng has brought forward “need to be looked into,” and the organization will “continue to work behind the scenes and directly to bring this to resolution.”Clive Brunskill / Getty Images file

“You have to remember that the ITF is the governing body of the sport worldwide, and one of the things that we are responsible for is grassroots development,” Haggerty told the BBC in an interview published Sunday.

“We don’t want to punish a billion people, so we will continue to run our junior events in the country and our senior events that are there for the time being,” he said.

Haggerty added that the allegations Peng has brought forward “need to be looked into,” and the ITF will “continue to work behind the scenes and directly to bring this to resolution.”

The ITF also released a short statement last week, saying it stands in support of women’s rights.

“Our primary concern remains Peng Shuai’s wellbeing,” the statement said.

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Amid global concern over Peng’s whereabouts, the International Olympic Committee held a video call with her last month, reporting she was “safe and well” and saying that she asked for privacy. On Thursday, the IOC said it spoke with Peng again and was offering “wide-ranging support” — but it did not release video of the calls or mention the allegations.

The WTA’s decision to pull its tournaments earned the support of current and former players including WTA founder Billie Jean King but enraged Beijing, with foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin saying China “opposes the politicization of sports.”



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