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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday November 14, 2021

In the aftermath of the WTA’s statement of support for Shuai Peng, the Chinese player who accused a high-ranking Chinese government official of sexual assault on November 2, the tour’s CEO Steve Simon has doubled down on his conviction in an interview with Christopher Clarey of the New York Times.

Tennis Express

First, and most important, he confirmed that Peng is not missing. Simon told Clarey that he has heard from several sources that she is “safe” and in Beijing at the moment.

Also Read: WTA Releases Statement Condemning Chinese Censorship of Peng Shuai, Who Levied Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Former Chinese Leader

“We’ve received confirmation from several sources, including the Chinese Tennis Association, that she is safe and not under any physical threat,” Simon told the New York Times. “My understanding is that she is in Beijing in China, but I can’t confirm that because I haven’t spoken directly with her.”

Simon: We’re Not Going to Back off this Position – It’s the Right Place to Be

Simon acknowledges the fact that the tour has invested a great deal in China in the last decade. There are 11 tournament in the country, including the lucrative WTA Finals in Shenzhen. But the tour chief says that his support for Peng and her quest for justice is unwavering, even if there are negative repercussions from the Chinese government.

“We have an athlete that’s part of the WTA family that’s come out with serious allegations,” he told Clarey. “We’re going to be 100 percent supportive of that, and we want to see a full investigation on this. If that isn’t the case and if they are not cooperative, then we’ll have to make some decisions, and we’re prepared to do so, and that’s the best we can do. But we’re not going to back off this position. It’s the right place to be.”

In recent years, players and executives from the NBA expressed anti-Chinese views, and China responded with economic punishment, which involved significant loss of money to the NBA. In the face of a potential similar outcome, Simon told Clarey that sees no wiggle room. The line has been drawn in the sand.

“If at the end of the day, we don’t see the appropriate results from this, we would be prepared to take that step and not operate our business in China if that’s what it came to,” Simon said.