ATP faces backlash for being soft on China in Peng Shuai controversy
- Former and present players criticised ATP
- WTA suspended all tournaments in China in the wake of Peng Shuai sexual assault controversy
- Andy Roddick and Martina Navratilova criticised Andrea Gaudenzi’s statement
ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi has faced backlash for not suspending tournaments in China in accordance with the governing body of women’s tennis, WTA, which suspended all the tournaments in China amid the ongoing Peng Shuai sexual assault controversy.
WTA chief Steve Simon had threatened to pull events from China should they fail to investigate Peng Shuai’s sexual assault allegations made against former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli, also a former member of all power Chinese Communist Party (CCP) politburo.
Since China did not pay any heed to WTA’s demand, the world body recently announced that they would be withdrawing all tour events set to be staged in China, including the prestigious WTA Finals, giving away business of billions of dollars.
In the wake of the recent development, ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi also released a statement regarding Peng Shuai’s situation that read “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.”
However, the ATP chief Andrea Gaudenzi’s statement has widely been criticised by former and present players, for being too “weak”, particularly regarding the severity of the situation.
US Open champion Andy Roddick said on Twitter “how to say a lot of words and say nothing (at the same time),” while 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova was also highly vocal of Gaudenzi’s statement.
However, world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev took a more measured approach and praised the WTA’s response but refused to criticise the ATP for “not doing the same thing.”
“I don’t want to blame anybody for not doing, let’s say, the same thing. Maybe Andrea [Gaudenzi] has a different opinion on what to do in this situation and how to react,” said Medvedev.
“I don’t want to say which one is good or bad. But definitely what (the) WTA did is strong. Yeah, there was a lot of money involved there. It’s really strong from Simon to make this decision,” he added.