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There has under no circumstances been a situation like this in China: a well known athlete producing these kinds of significant allegations in opposition to one of the country’s major political figures. Even though Simon received an e mail from Peng this 7 days, Simon has solid doubt on its authenticity and insisted that the tour would like verifiable proof that Peng is safe and sound. He has mentioned that no one particular in the tennis group has been able to get hold of her immediately.
Simon has called for a entire investigation into Peng’s allegations of sexual assault, an inquiry no cost of censorship. That could demonstrate even trickier to achieve in a state unlikely to embrace outside demands on how it conducts its internal affairs.
The Worldwide Olympic Committee, with even far more at stake as it prepares to just take the Winter Olympics to Beijing in February, has argued for tact and at the rear of-the-scenes diplomacy relatively than direct confrontation. But Simon and the WTA have made the decision, right after careful and lengthy thing to consider, to make a stand and have doubled down — insisting that if Chinese authorities do not comply, the tour would be geared up to pull out of China, the place it experienced 11 situations on the agenda this year.
The men’s tour, which has 4 gatherings of its own in China, has provided a good deal of help for Peng but, as of nevertheless, no these types of ultimatum. Simon, with even additional at possibility commercially, has taken a much bolder path than his ATP counterpart, Andrea Gaudenzi, believing that increasing the temperature and elevating worldwide consciousness of Peng’s problem was required.
“When you are chatting about allegations these kinds of as this and sexual assault, when a female has the courage to come up and replicate these and condition it, you have to have the bravery to then comply with up and go by the right process and get to the correct resolution at the end of the working day,” Simon claimed in an job interview on Sunday. “You are unable to water down or compromise this sort of an challenge.”
The No. 1 men’s player, Novak Djokovic, mentioned Friday that he supported the WTA’s strategy. “The whole neighborhood, tennis neighborhood, requirements to back again her up and her relatives, make sure that she’s safe and sound and audio mainly because if you would have tournaments on the Chinese soil without resolving this condition, it would be a small little bit strange,” he reported.
Peng has had to be potent right before, beating several accidents, adversity and isolation. She had a procedure to maintenance a coronary heart defect not extensive just before leaving property at age 14: despatched by Chinese officials to coach at the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Fla.