A four-year absence of elite women’s tennis in China is set to end with the Women’s Tennis Association holding seven tournaments in the next six weeks as part of the tour’s Asian swing.
After tournaments in China were canceled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in 2020, the WTA suspended events in the country in December 2021 over concerns about Grand Slam doubles champion Peng Shuai’s well-being after the Chinese player made sexual assault accusations against a high-ranking Chinese government official.
Peng dropped out of sight after the accusation against former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli briefly appeared on her verified Weibo social media before being swiftly removed. Screenshots of the post were shared across the internet, drawing widespread concern about Peng’s safety from politicians, fellow tennis stars, and the WTA.
The WTA said at the time it would not return until someone from the tour could meet with Peng and her allegations were properly investigated.