The WTA announced Tuesday that Fort Worth would host its annual season-ending WTA Finals this year.
The tournament, which will commence Oct. 31, stated it had a 1-year agreement to play in Fort Worth, “with the event thereafter due to return to Shenzhen, China.” But the WTA stated the suspension of its tournaments in China remained in location, leaving the WTA Finals’ return to China in 2023 uncertain.
WTA tournaments in China have been suspended because December, when Steve Simon, the tour’s chairman and chief executive, announced the choice, soon after the Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai shared in a post on the web an allegation of sexual assault against a former leading Chinese government official.
In the following weeks, Peng, 36, was not noticed publicly, and it was unclear regardless of whether she was secure or in a position to speak freely with out interference from the Chinese government. She later deleted her post.
In November, the editor of a state-run newspaper shared clips stated to be of the Chinese tennis star on Twitter. But they had been unverified, and Simon known as them “insufficient.” The WTA had known as for Chinese authorities to investigate the accusation and finish censorship on the topic just before suspending tournaments.
After Peng went public with her allegations, tennis fans had been spotted at tournaments, which includes this year’s Australian Open, with indicators and T-shirts reading “Where is Peng Shuai?” Others, which includes Serena Williams, took to social media to express issues about Peng’s security.
“If powerful people can suppress the voices of women and sweep allegations of sexual assault under the rug, then the basis on which the WTA was founded — equality for women — would suffer an immense setback,” Simon stated in a statement in December, announcing an productive boycott of tennis in China. “I will not and cannot let that happen to the WTA and its players.”
In February, about the time Peng met with the International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach at the Beijing Games, Simon known as for a likelihood to have a private meeting with Peng, adding in a statement that “we continue to hold firm on our position and our thoughts remain with Peng Shuai.”
In an e-mail on Tuesday, a WTA spokeswoman stated that the organization “continues to work towards a resolution in China and are hopeful we will be in a position to operate events in the region in 2023 and beyond but will not compromise our founding principles in order to do so.”
The WTA’s stance has not come with out a price. China had been a basic supply of monetary stability for the WTA, with ten events that accounted for about 1-third of the tour’s annual income in 2019. The most lucrative and recognized of these events was the WTA Finals, which presented record prize revenue of $14 million in 2019.
The WTA gained some relief from that loss of income in March, when, soon after additional than a decade with out a title sponsor, it agreed to a multiyear deal with Hologic, a top worldwide healthcare device and diagnostics organization focused on women’s well being.
The WTA Finals have been roaming the globe for a property because 2019, which was the initially year of what was supposed to be a ten-year deal that would have kept the tournament in Shenzhen, a city of additional than 17 million.
But the following year, the WTA Finals had been canceled simply because of the coronavirus pandemic, and in 2021, the tournament scrambled at the final minute to locate a host and ended up in Guadalajara, Mexico, exactly where Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain won the final against Anett Kontaveit of Estonia.
Having the tournament in Texas this year brings the WTA Finals, which has had various names more than the years, back to the United States for the initially time because 2005, and it adds to the tour’s presence in the United States to finish the year. After the U.S. Open, the WTA will have a 500-level tournament in San Diego in October and a 125-level tournament in Midland, Mich., about 130 miles northwest of Detroit.
The tournament in Fort Worth, about 30 miles west of Dallas, will be played at Dickies Arena, a 14,000-seat multipurpose venue that opened in 2019. The venue has hosted a rodeo, concerts, the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, and the initially and second rounds of the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament.