WTA Tour set to return to China in 2023 following suspension over Peng Shuai situation
The World Tour Association announced on Monday that it will host the WTA Tour Finals in 2023 – three years after the 2018 edition – and will return to China in 2024 after having previously been suspended there by China’s sporting regulator CAS.
The move to hold the event in 2023 comes after the Chinese government threatened to withdraw from the WTA Tour in January 2018, after it became publicly known that an athlete from China had tested positive for a banned substance.
A month earlier, the governing body of the WTA Tour had suspended the tour following the announcement of the drug case involving two players from China’s two most-loved sports, tennis and cricket, that drew widespread condemnation from across the sporting world.
A statement by the WTA Tour was eventually released on December 3, 2018, explaining that the decision to suspend the tour had been made by the commission, while the governing body of the WTA Tour had taken no formal decision to suspend or cancel the tournament.
“Due to the situation related to the WTA Tour, the governing body and the WTA Tour have had to take the decision to suspend the 2018 and 2019 finals,” the statement read, “while the governing body of the WTA Tour has decided to continue to host the finals.”
As a result of the decision to suspend the WTA Tour, the 2019 WTA Finals in London was put on hold and all tennis tournaments that took place before the tournament’s postponement were cancelled.
Following the situation, CAS, the government-run sports regulator, said that it would have no choice but to “remove” tennis from the WTA Tour, “which may result in a suspension of the WTA Tour”.
The announcement immediately led to a widespread boycott of all WTA Tour competitions in China and the subsequent resignation of the WTA Tour’s president, Chris Kermode.
But the WTA Tour’s governing body also said it was not for CAS to decide on the future of the WTA Tour, despite the situation leading to the removal of all tennis tournaments in China, and instead encouraged the WTA Tour –