There has by no means been a case like this in China: a distinguished 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 solid doubt on its authenticity and insisted that the tour desires verifiable proof that Peng is protected. He has stated that nobody within the tennis neighborhood 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 realize in a rustic unlikely to embrace outdoors calls for on the way it conducts its inner 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 quite 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 tug out of China, the place it had 11 occasions on the schedule this yr.
The boys’s tour, which has 4 occasions of its personal in China, has supplied loads of assist 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 international consciousness of Peng’s scenario was vital.
“Once you’re speaking about allegations reminiscent of this and sexual assault, when a girl has the braveness to return up and replicate these and state it, it’s a must to have the braveness to then comply with up and undergo the appropriate course of and get to the appropriate answer on the finish of the day,” Simon stated in an interview on Sunday. “You can not water down or compromise one of these a problem.”
The No. 1 males’s participant, Novak Djokovic, stated Friday that he supported the WTA’s strategy. “The entire neighborhood, tennis neighborhood, must again her up and her household, be sure that she’s protected and sound as a result of in the event you would have tournaments on the Chinese language soil with out resolving this example, it might be somewhat bit unusual,” he stated.
Peng has needed to be robust 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.