The founder of the Women’s Tennis Association says she is “very happy that the WTA has represented” Peng Shuai; WTA has suspended tournaments in China over concerns over Peng’s treatment following her allegation that former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli sexually assaulted her
Last update: 08/21/21 2:14 p.m.
Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) founder Billie Jean King says she is proud of the organization for standing up for Peng Shuai.
King spoke after the WTA tournaments in China were suspended over concerns over the treatment of the former world number 1 in doubles.
“I’m very happy that the WTA defended it. There will be a lot of challenges ahead of us, but defending human rights and abuse is really important,” said King, 12-time Grand Slam winner. Eurosport at the Sports Illustrated Awards.
“I founded the organization in 1973 so I’m really proud of us.
“I’m glad women stand up for what’s right. The main thing is that she’s safe and I hope she’s okay.”
Peng’s fate has become a matter of international concern after a public absence of nearly three weeks after posting a social media post alleging that former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli sexually assaulted her.
Former Britain number one Andrew Castle said the WTA was doing the right thing by canceling tournaments in China to underline concern for Peng Shuai’s well-being
Neither Zhang, who retired in 2018, nor the Chinese government has commented on Peng’s claim and the topic has been blocked for direct discussion on the heavily censored internet in China.
The Tennis Professionals Association (ATP), the governing body of men’s tennis, said it will continue to monitor the situation, but has not followed the WTA in suspending tournaments in China.
When asked if King would like to see more support from the men, she replied, “That would be nice, I think we would like more support from the men.
“I always wanted men and women to be together in a single association, it’s really my dream for us, it always has been.
“We should all be working together to help our sport – also off the pitch – in a more powerful and meaningful way.”