The ATP, which is the governing body of men’s professional tennis, is facing criticism for not following the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) lead and suspending tournaments in China. The WTA is doing so as a response to the treatment of Chinese player Peng Shuai.
The WTA said on Wednesday that it was concerned about risks to players and staff if tournaments took place as scheduled in China — so it came to the conclusion to suspend events there indefinitely. However, the ATP said it believes that “having a global presence gives us the best chance of making an impact.”
“The situation involving Peng Shuai continues to raise serious concerns within and beyond our sport,” ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said on Thursday, according to ESPN. “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.”
A pair of prominent tennis figures publicly have spoken out against the ATP’s current stance on the Peng situation.
Martina Navratilova, and 18-time Grand Slam winner, wrote on Twitter, “Are we to understand that the ATP would have made the same statement had the player been a male? Somehow I think not.”
Are we to understand that the @ATP would have made the same statement had the player been a male? An atp tour pro?!? Somehow I think not.#embarassinghttps://t.co/eokSqwXQbu
— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) December 2, 2021
Andy Roddick, who was once ranked as the top men’s tennis player in the world, said the ATP’s statement shows, “How to say a lot of words and say nothing.”
Concerns for Peng Shuai’s safety came after she accused a top Chinese official of sexual assault on Nov. 2 and then disappeared from the public eye for three weeks.
Despite the International Olympic Committee allegedly talking to Peng on a video call recently, the WTA still has “serious doubts” that she is “free” and “safe” in China.
“While we now know where Peng is, I have serious doubts that she is free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion and intimidation,” WTA CEO Steve Simon wrote in a statement. “The WTA has been clear on what is needed here, and we repeat our call for a full and transparent investigation – without censorship – into Peng Shuai’s sexual assault accusation.Internet Explorer Channel Network