WTA Tour set to return to China in 2023 following suspension over Peng Shuai situation
The Tennis Association of Hong Kong announced on Aug. 25 it has decided to allow Chinese tennis players to return to the top level in the women’s singles and doubles in the 2021-22 season.
It was just a year ago that Chinese tennis players were banned from entering the women’s singles and doubles grand slam competition because of a scandal involving former Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai.
The organization had also banned current Chinese tennis star Li Na, who has won a record eight titles, from entering WTA competition in 2017.
“We have always maintained that, as a principle, we follow the best interest of the players, the same as we protect the integrity and ethical conduct of the players in any organization and organization,” said T.S. Leung, the chief executive of TAI, in a statement on Friday.
“We have decided that a fair and reasonable solution is to allow the return of all Chinese women’s singles and doubles competitors and the Chinese women’s doubles team members to compete in WTA events in 2021-22. We will announce when the details of the return will be finalized.”
The announcement also confirms the return of all Chinese female tennis players to the Chinese national team team in the future.
As reported by The New York Times earlier this year, China would also be allowed to compete in the top level of the women’s singles and doubles in the 2022 season.
China, meanwhile, has been allowed to compete for the gold medal in men’s singles and doubles in the upcoming Rio Olympics. China has been ranked within the top 40 in all four of the sport’s four major events.
In the WTA Tour, the WTA announced in July that it is expected to begin competition in 2023 with three divisions in the women’s singles and doubles.
“We believe this will give Chinese players a fighting chance to compete in the top level in the game,” said WTA Chief Executive Officer Stacey Allaster in June when announcing the decision. “We’re very excited to bring international standards to the world’s best.”
The decision comes after the WTA lifted the ban and invited the Chinese national team to compete in the women’s team and the mixed doubles