“We don’t want to punish a billion people”: ITF refuses to suspend tennis activities in China over Peng Shuai case

ITF President's latest statement on the Peng Shuai controversy is gaining a lot of attention.

Peng Shuai
Peng Shuai

China has been trying its best to misguide the world into believing that Peng Shuai is completely safe and sound. They came up with ways of manufacturing evidence that can hide the truth. However, much to their disappointment, world leaders and the general public collectively called them out for blatantly abusing human rights.

The Chinese government issued a letter, allegedly written by Peng to the WTA Chairman which stated that the tennis star is absolutely fine. They also organized a video call between Peng and Thomas Bach which was also not accepted as credible evidence. After several failed attempts to establish direct communication with Peng, the WTA decided to suspend all activities in China.

“Our primary concern remains Peng Shuai’s wellbeing”: ITF President

David Haggerty
David Haggerty

WTA’s firm stand was appreciated by all and it was expected that the ATP and ITF will also take a similar decision. However, ATP issued a vague statement and took the diplomatic path instead of making a strong statement against the oppressors.

A lot of top tennis stars called ATP ‘spineless’ for not doing what was expected. Now, International Tennis Federation’s President David Haggerty has made it absolutely clear that the organization is not going to follow the footsteps of the WTA. In an interaction with BBC Sport Haggerty claimed, “You have to remember that the ITF is the governing body of the sport worldwide, and one of the things that we are responsible for is grassroots development”.

We don’t want to punish a billion people, so we will continue to run our junior events in the country and our senior events that are there for the time being,” he added. This comes just a week after the ITF stated that its primary concern is to ensure that Peng is safe.

The International Tennis Federation, as the governing body of tennis, stands in support of all women’s rights,” it had said. “Our primary concern remains Peng Shuai’s wellbeing. The allegations Peng made must be addressed. We will continue to support all efforts being made to that end, both publicly and behind the scenes.”

World leaders and the general public are constantly putting pressure on China and when WTA took a strong step, everybody thought that China would be forced to do the right thing. However, the fact that the ATP and ITF are not standing firmly with WTA is only going to give breathing space to the Chinese Communist Party.

Also read: “China & Human Rights Abuse”: The Peng Shuai Story tells the reality of the Communist Party in China