China v ITF: Fears over future of tennis tournaments in country over dispute

Peng Shuai beat Zhang Shuai in three sets to win the Dubai Open last week The International Tennis Federation (ITF) is standing firm in its decision to suspend tournaments in China from next week…

China v ITF: Fears over future of tennis tournaments in country over dispute

Peng Shuai beat Zhang Shuai in three sets to win the Dubai Open last week

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) is standing firm in its decision to suspend tournaments in China from next week because of a row with Peng Shuai.

The ITF wants Peng, who angered players by electing to play for China at the Dubai Open, to apologise, which she refused to do.

This week, China denied the ITF’s request and has declared that it will also be carrying out its own inspection.

“We will protect the interests of tennis in China,” said ITF chief David Haggerty.

Chinese players are prohibited from playing for the host nation at international events but the ITF argues that the Chinese governing body, the China Tennis Association (CTA), did not ask Peng to say sorry.

It did not suspend matches in China this year before the start of the French Open in April because of other issues, but Haggerty said he believes China is “passionate” about sport.

“The CTA provides a very good pathway to play and develop as a pro tennis player in China. It is fantastic, so that is one, I don’t know why we have this discussion, why it has caused them so much discomfort,” he said.

“They don’t see this as a policy of harassment. It isn’t what we want – we want to look after the interests of a billion people.

“We want to make sure we support our most talented members and what the players have called these tournaments, they are incredible. They have been an incredible platform for players in China.”

Eight senior Chinese players, including Peng, were awarded seven combined ranking points for not participating in the Dubai tournament, in which she beat China’s Zhang Shuai in three sets.

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in January announced it would no longer allow Chinese players to play for China at its events in a move designed to help a joint bid to host the Fed Cup in 2020.

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