The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has confirmed the traditional season-opening Shenzhen Open will not take place in the first half of 2022 following a conventional pattern until Wimbledon in June.
According to Reuters, the WTA 250 tournament, which is usually played in the first week of the year, was held last year before events in China were wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The women’s tour has suspended its tournaments in China due to concerns over the treatment of former doubles world number one Peng Shuai, who has disappeared from public view after she made allegation of sexual violence against a high-profile politician.
It is unlikely the tournament would have gone ahead early this year anyway due to China’s travel restrictions.
Last Thursday, Beijing took exception at the suspension of tournaments in China by the WTA in solidarity with Peng Shuai.
According to the BBC, Peng, 35, disappeared from public view for three weeks after accusing a top Chinese official of sexual assault.
The WTA has repeatedly called for a full investigation into Peng’s claims.
There was widespread concern for Peng after she accused former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault.
BBC further reported that Peng, during a video call with the president of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach in November said she was ‘safe and well’. However, the WTA said the video was “insufficient evidence” of Peng’s safety.