There has by no means been a case like this in China: a outstanding athlete making such important allegations in opposition to one of many nation’s main political figures. Although Simon obtained an email from Peng this week, Simon has forged doubt on its authenticity and insisted that the tour needs verifiable proof that Peng is secure. He has stated that nobody within the tennis group has been in a position to contact her immediately.
Simon has known as for a full investigation into Peng’s allegations of sexual assault, an inquiry freed from censorship. That would show even trickier to attain in a rustic unlikely to embrace exterior calls for on the way it conducts its inside affairs.
The Worldwide Olympic Committee, with much more at stake because it prepares to take the Winter Olympics to Beijing in February, has argued for tact and behind-the-scenes diplomacy slightly than direct confrontation. However Simon and the WTA have determined, after cautious and prolonged consideration, to make a stand and have doubled down — insisting that if Chinese language authorities don’t comply, the tour can be ready to drag out of China, the place it had 11 occasions on the schedule this 12 months.
The boys’s tour, which has 4 occasions of its personal in China, has provided loads of help for Peng however, as of but, no such ultimatum. Simon, with much more in danger commercially, has taken a a lot bolder path than his ATP counterpart, Andrea Gaudenzi, believing that elevating the temperature and elevating world consciousness of Peng’s state of affairs was essential.
“If you’re speaking about allegations corresponding to this and sexual assault, when a girl has the braveness to come back up and replicate these and state it, you need to have the braveness to then comply with up and undergo the correct course of and get to the correct answer on the finish of the day,” Simon stated in an interview on Sunday. “You can’t water down or compromise any such a problem.”
The No. 1 males’s participant, Novak Djokovic, stated Friday that he supported the WTA’s strategy. “The entire group, tennis group, must again her up and her household, ensure that she’s secure and sound as a result of in the event you would have tournaments on the Chinese language soil with out resolving this case, it might be just a little bit unusual,” he stated.
Peng has needed to be sturdy earlier than, overcoming quite a few accidents, adversity and isolation. She had a process to restore a coronary heart defect not lengthy earlier than leaving residence at age 14: despatched by Chinese language officers to coach on the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Fla.