The WTA is still working to find a resolution to the Peng Shuai issue over China, but will not return to the country this year, said tour chief Steve Simon.
Former doubles world number one Peng’s wellbeing became a concern after a WTA she posted on social media last November accusing China’s former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault. The Post was promptly removed and Peng disappeared from public view for three weeks.
The following month, the WTA suspended all its tournaments in China, a decision expected to cost the elite women’s tours of dollars in broadcasting and sponsorship.
“We’re dedicated to finding a resolution to this,” Simon told The Tennis Podcast. “We want to find a resolution that Peng can be comfortable with, the Chinese government can be comfortable with, and we can be comfortable.
“We are not walking away from China. We have suspended our operations. We will continue to do that until we get to a resolution.
“We will stay resolute. We do hope to be back there in 2023 with the resolution that shows progress made in the space. If that’s the world we can achieve. ”
Peng, who had already retired from professional tennis, made an appearance at the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February.
The WTA, however, stuck to a formal investigation into its demand for Peng’s allegations and an opportunity to meet her privately.
“We haven’t had any recent communication with either Peng and the world,” said Simon.
“I don’t think you can change this world by walking away from the issues. You have to create change. It may not be everything we want. But we have to find a solution that helps us find that balance and go back and look at the area in progress. ”
The WTA has yet to announce its 2022 calendar of events in the US Open Grand Slam in September, but Simon said the governing body would announce a “fairly solid” autumn schedule within the next two or three weeks.
While there have been signs of cooperation between the ATP Tour and the WTA since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Men’s Tour has not been launched in China and will host four tournaments in the country this season.
Simon said he respected the ATP’s position. “Their difference is that … they don’t have a member that’s affected,” Simon added. “They will have to make their own decisions at this point in time.
“Would we love to have their support? Absolutely. But we are not trying to influence their decision in any way – it has to be theirs. ”