ATP scraps Chinese tournaments
The decision has been made due to Covid restrictions
ATP men’s tennis tournaments have become the latest victim of strict Covid protocols in China and will be canceled this year, as confirmed by the tour.
Beijing hosted the Winter Olympics in February, but most other international sporting spectacles in the world’s most populous country have either been canceled or postponed in 2022.
As confirmed on Thursday, the Shanghai Masters will be put on the scrap heap as one of a quartet of men’s tennis tournaments that have been canceled in China due to strict restrictions.
The men’s ATP tour revealed that its events in China, which are typically put on in September and October, would be canceled for a third consecutive year, with local authorities committed to a zero-Covid policy.
The decision affects not just the Shanghai Masters, but also the Chengdu Open, China Open and Zhuhai Championships as six other ATP 250 tournaments have been created to make up for the spaces in the calendar elsewhere.
“As a global sport we continue to manage the impacts of the pandemic,” remarked ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi, who said that event cancelations “are an unfortunate reality” of it.
“At the same time, it’s incredibly encouraging to have many great cities step up to host ATP Tour tennis this season,” he also added.
Though the WTA would have probably followed suit, the women’s tour did not have any events scheduled in China in 2022 due to the fallout over Peng Shuai.
The Chinese doubles master, who boasts titles at Wimbledon and the French Open, made a since-deleted social media post late last year in which she appeared to claim that she was once forced into having a sexual relationship with a prominent former Chinese politician.
After Peng then disappeared from the public eye, WTA head Steve Simon announced the suspension of all its events in the country in 2022.
“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 claimed, as part of a statement.
Though Peng was later spotted in public, the WTA and the Chinese state are yet to find a resolution to their stand-off with the WTA saying that the appearances where she retracted her sexual assault claims did not “alleviate” its “significant concerns about her well-being.”
A fortnight ago at Wimbledon, which the WTA and ATP stripped of ranking points in protest at the competition’s ban on Russians, some protestors wore “Where is Peng Shuai?” T-shirts as a fan that screamed the question during the men’s final between eventual champion Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios was reportedly ejected by security.
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