Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Djoko says ‘fully’ behind WTA’s China decision on Peng Shuai



Djoko says ‘fully’ behind WTA’s China decision on Peng Shuai

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
World number one Novak Djokovic said he supports "fully" the WTA decision to suspend its tournaments in China. AFP

Djoko says ‘fully’ behind WTA’s China decision on Peng Shuai

World No1 Novak Djokovic said he supports “fully” the Women’s Tennis Association’s decision to suspend its tournaments in China over concerns about the safety of female player Peng Shuai, who accused a top Communist Party official of sexual assault.

“I support fully the WTA’s stance because we don’t have enough information about Peng Shuai and her wellbeing,” he said on the sidelines of the David Cup in Madrid on December 1, adding her health was of the “utmost importance to the world of tennis”.

“I think the position of the WTA is very bold and very courageous,” the Serbian player said.

WTA Tour chairman Steve Simon on December 1 announced the “immediate suspension” of all its tournaments in China, including Hong Kong.

Djokovic had already thrown his support behind the WTA’s threat to cut lucrative business ties with China over her case last month.

The WTA had planned 11 events in China this year before Covid-19 forced them to be relocated or cancelled.

Resumption of competition there is now on hold.

“In good conscience, I don’t see how I can ask our athletes to compete there when Peng Shuai is not allowed to communicate freely and has seemingly been pressured to contradict her allegation of sexual assault,” Simon said.

No WTA tournament was planned before the end of the year and the 2022 schedule has yet to be released.

Peng, a 35-year-old Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion, was not seen for more than two weeks following her allegations that former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli, now in his 70s, forced her into sex during a years-long on-and-off relationship.

Peng’s claims against Zhang were the first time China’s #MeToo movement has touched the highest echelons of the ruling Communist Party.

Peng was photographed at a tennis event last month in Beijing and participated in a video call on November 21 with Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee. Beijing is set to host the Winter Olympics in February.

“While we now know where Peng is, I have serious doubts that she is free, safe, and not subject to censorship, coercion, and intimidation,” Simon said.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Schools drawn into Manet degree row

    Prime Minister Hun Sen stepped into the Hun Manet-Sam Rainsy war of words over the validity of Manet’s degree from the US Military Academy at West Point, set off by Rainsy’s claims that Manet had received a “second-class degree” or “honorary degree”. Hun

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Kampot tourism quay ‘90% done’

    Construction on Kampot International Tourism Port – a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district about 6km west of Kampot town – has fallen off track, reaching 90 per cent completion, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official last week. The project is now planned to be finished