After speaking with Peng Shuai, the boss of world tennis is confident about Peng Shuai’s safety and doesn’t believe that the country should be stopped from hosting tournaments.
David Haggerty, President of International Tennis Federation (ITF), stated to Sky News that China is still a very important market and that coronavirus restrictions are the reason his organization pulled events. This was not a protest against China’s leadership.
In December, the Women’s Tennis Association announced a suspension for all tournaments in China due to concerns over the treatment of former doubles world number 1.
The COVID-19 entry problems have prompted the men’s ATP Tour to withdraw events from China. This is a position that the ITF, the umbrella organization for all things tennis, has taken.
According to Mr Haggerty, he spoke with Peng six weeks ago. They also keep in touch via email.
Sky News’ Mr Haggerty said that he felt positive about his conversation with Peng, and that’s why he continues to keep in touch.
“It would be nice to meet her face-to-face and I look forward to that, when it’s possible to travel to China to attend the events and when she can travel outside of China as well.
“So, from my point of view, tennis should be played, particularly by juniors in China. Our sport should be able grow and develop, and China is a very important market.
While entry restrictions for the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics were relaxed earlier in the year, foreign travellers who travel to China must spend seven days at a centralised quarantine facility before being allowed to enter. Three additional days are required to stay at home.
“The ITF believes that events can occur in China, as the restrictions have been hopefully lifted,” Mr Haggerty stated.
“In 2023 there will be senior events and junior events. Our competitions will take place in China when the COVID restrictions have been lifted.”
Djokovic will miss the US Open
Speaking from New York, Mr Haggerty spoke ahead of the US Open. Former world number one Novak Djokovic won’t be trying for a 22nd Grand Slam title because he lacks coronavirus vaccines that would prevent him from entering the country.
Mr Haggerty stated that Novak understood the rules and respected them. “It is up to each government to have these policies and rules that they enforce.
“It’s unfortunate. We can see Novak as a formidable competitor and how successful he has been this year. He would love to be at the US Open, and I know that more than anything.
Flushing Meadows will host Emma Raducanu, who will defend the title that she won as a qualifier last year. The English star was drawn on Thursday and will face Alize Cornet from France in the first round.
Mr Haggerty stated that everyone likes to look up to someone who can be emulated, someone they can look up to as a role model. She certainly does this for many young girls all over the globe.
The ITF’s financial report for 2021 was released on Thursday by the organization. It showed that it is recovering from being affected in 2020 by coronavirus cancellations.
Operating income nearly doubled to $66.6m, (PS56m), but still far below the $88.7m generated in 2019
The ITF’s Junior Tennis Initiative witnessed a 23% increase in the number players aged 14 and under introduced to tennis with 213,212 participants in the global program last year.