After the great solidarity of the whole tennis world towards Peng Shuai, the many voices that expressed support for the Chinese and the decision by the WTA to suspend all the tournaments scheduled in China and Hong Kong, Maria Sharapova also gave their opinion on the Chinese player's case.
Former world number 1 Maria Sharapova praised WTA CEO Steve Simon for taking an important stand against China and suspending all scheduled tournaments in China next year. Sharapova told CNBC, as she revealed on Tennishead: "She was my colleague and rival.
Of course I hope and pray that you and her family are safe and well." The former Russian tennis player then commented on the WTA's decision to suspend tournaments in China until verifiable proof is obtained that Peng Shuai is safe and sound.
"I was incredibly impressed with how the WTA took a stand. It was an organization that I was a part of for many years, so seeing Steve Simon doing the right thing was wonderful," said Sharapova, who greatly admires the fact that the WTA puts people ahead of money and business.
For weeks now, the association has shown that it is seriously concerned about Peng's health and well-being. "Unfortunately, the leadership in China has not addressed this very serious problem in a credible way. While we now know where Peng is, I have serious doubts that she is free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion and intimidation.
The WTA has been clear about what is needed here, and we repeat our call for a full and transparent investigation, uncensored, into Peng Shuai's assault allegation," said WTA CEO Stece Simon in a statement, concluding then underlining that: "None of this is acceptable, nor can it become.
If powerful people can suppress women's voices and sweep allegations of sexual assault under the carpet, then the foundation on which the WTA was founded, equality for women, would suffer an immense setback. I don't want and can't allow this to happen to the WTA and its players."
Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open 2022?
There are still a few weeks left for the ATP tennis season to start, but the first rumors about the 2022 edition are already starting to circulate, for a season that promises to be full and full of news.
One of the main dilemmas that characterize the circuit concerns the participation or not of some tennis players in the Australian Open 2022. Next year, in the month of January, there will be several competitions in the oceanic continent, from the ATP Cup to the Australian Open with a series of minor tournaments in between, but every tennis player, as well as the fans and professionals, will have to be compulsorily vaccinated for COVID-19.
There is a lot of curiosity about the future and the presence of the world number one Novak Djokovic. The Serbian champion has repeatedly declared his concerns about the vaccine but in the last few hours a surprising news has arrived that undoubtedly brings Nole's participation to the Australian Open closer.
The groups of the ATP Cup 2022 have been announced and each team has presented their lists with the tennis players participating in the competition. The Serbian team also includes Novak Djokovic and this could be an important clue in view of the competition.
In fact, the ATP Cup 2022 will be held in Australia and like the Australian Open it is compulsory for all tennis players to vaccinate. This situation therefore assumes that Nole will be present in Australia even if at the moment it is all to be verified.
The group of Serbia sees the Balkans engaged against Spain, probably without Rafael Nadal but with the young prodigy Carlos Alcaraz, and will then be engaged against Norway of the Top Ten Casper Ruud and against the 'freshman' of the Chile tournament, an underdog but which will undoubtedly try to surprise.
In the next few hours or maybe the next few days we will have more information on this story, a real tennis mystery with the presence of Djokovic at the Australian Open which certainly represents one of the most interesting topics of this end 2021 (and early 2022). The Grand Slam fight is still in full swing and all tennis fans want to know the choice of the Serbian champion.