ATP claim 'serious concerns' over Peng Shuai safety but don't join WTA in China boycott

Mens' game call for assurances on Peng Shuai's safety but fall short of backing WTA action.

The ATP say they hold 'serious concerns' over the situation surrounding Peng Shuai, but they have resisted calls to follow the WTA in pulling out of China.

Peng's disappeared for two weeks after accusing a high-ranking Chinese politician of sexual abuse, and although she has since been seen again there remain doubts over her freedom.

The WTA has been unable to gain proof that Peng is free of censorship and coercion, while WTA chairman Steve Simon's call for the 35-year-old's claim to be fully investigated appears to have fallen on deaf ears.

Simon said in a statement on Wednesday: "If powerful people can suppress the voices of women and sweep allegations of sexual assault under the rug, then the basis on which the WTA was founded - equality for women - would suffer an immense setback. I will not and cannot let that happen to the WTA and its players.

"Given the current state of affairs, I am also greatly concerned about the risks that all of our players and staff could face if we were to hold events in China in 2022."

Concerns for the welfare of Peng have prompted a rare show of unity in tennis, but so far that does not look set to extend to a sport-wide boycott of China.

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said: "The situation involving Peng Shuai continues to raise serious concerns within and beyond our sport. 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.

"We know that sport can have a positive influence on society and generally believe that having a global presence gives us the best chance of creating opportunity and making an impact.

"We will continue to consult with our members and monitor any developments as this issue evolves."

The International Tennis Federation, which runs events at the lower tiers of the sport, also made no mention of pulling out of the country in its statement, saying: "The International Tennis Federation, as the governing body of tennis, stands in support of all women's rights.

"Our primary concern remains Peng Shuai's well-being. The allegations Peng made must be addressed. We will continue to support all efforts being made to that end, both publicly and behind the scenes."

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