Home » Sport » Peng Shuai case: Steve Simon, the boss of women’s tennis who challenges China

Peng Shuai case: Steve Simon, the boss of women’s tennis who challenges China

This is the man who was not afraid to go to the net against China to defend ethics and humanism at the expense of money in the Peng Shuai affair: the disappearance of the Chinese player Peng Shuai, on November 4, after accusing the former vice premier of the Chinese regime of rape. Steve Simon, who has headed the WTA, the international women’s tennis federation since 2015, has proven to be a wise and innovative leader with progressive convictions.

Simon certainly did not think his strategy was risky when he made China the main source of income for the women’s circuit, notably by signing in 2018 a juicy 10-year contract with Shenzhen for the organization of the Masters (a meeting traditionally concluded season, which has nine other tournaments in this country) for a total endowment of 26.4 million euros.

However, three years later, the financial interests of the WTA in “the Middle Empire” are considerably weakened by the possible consequences of the case of Peng Shuai, ex-N.1 world duplicate, which accused in early November a former senior Chinese Communist Party official Zhang Gaoli for coercing her into sex.

For a simple reason, but the content of which is almost unprecedented in the relations that the various world sporting bodies maintain with this country with such a lucrative market: Steve Simon carried out his threats on Wednesday by announcing “the immediate suspension of all tournaments WTA in China, including Hong Kong ”.

“More important than business”

“We are fully prepared to go out of business and face all the complications that come with it. Because it’s more important than business ”, he had already warned at the time of Peng Shuai’s disappearance, about his accusations for which he had asked for a“ transparent and fair ”investigation, before she reappeared. November 21 in a restaurant in Beijing and during a tennis tournament in Beijing.

Where the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is singled out for its discretion, two months before the Beijing Winter Games, the WTA is showing “leadership” which made Billie Jean King, legend of the tennis, founder of the body in 1973 and tireless activist for gender equality. A position shared by the former world number one Andy Roddick, who greeted on Twitter Wednesday the suspension of Chinese tournaments on the WTA circuit: “Acting well is much easier when it costs nothing. Respect. “

For those who, like Billie Jean King, know the 66-year-old, no surprise. This Californian, entered tennis in 1989 as a commercial for the Indian Wells tournament after six years at Adidas, before taking the direction in 2004 and making it the “5th Grand Slam” , is recognized for its know-how and its penchant for innovation (its tournament was the first to adopt “hawkeye” technology on all courts). But he is especially appreciated by the microcosm that surrounds him for his human qualities.

So Serena Williams praised them in November 2015 when he was appointed head of the WTA, recalling his decisive role in convincing her to return to play in Indian Wells a few months earlier, after 14 years of boycott because of “racism. felt ”when she and her sister Venus performed there in 2001.“ Steve couldn’t have been more helpful, professional and supportive. I know how much he cares about the opinions of the players. He listens, he has our best interests in mind, ”she said.

Billie Jean King agreed that Simon was “the right person for this job”, praising a “thoughtful, respectful” man. Speaking about his new mission at the head of the WTA, the person then explained that “it was not only tennis, but women’s sport”.

“One of the things that has to happen in this world is that people like me, male, have to step forward and advocate for real equality, start making changes because that’s the right thing to do. good thing to do ”.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.