The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced a record prize fund for women’s tournaments. This is part of its efforts to return to China this year, after suspending its affairs due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ITF tournaments, which are one level below the ATP and WTA Tours, have been on hold since the pandemic began. And in 2021, the WTA suspended its events in China due to concern for the safety and welfare of former doubles world number one Peng Shuai. After Peng accused a Chinese official of sexual assault, she later denied making the allegations and was not seen in public for a while. The WTA expressed that it would be making a decision soon regarding their possible return to China.
Accompanying the ITF’s plan to return to China is its imminent debut in Ethiopia with its first World Tennis Tour and its comeback to Burundi and Cyprus, three and six years after, respectively. ITF President David Haggerty stated that the mission of the ITF is to promote tennis across the world in all its different economic, social, and political contexts.
Apart from the International Tennis Federation, Peng Shuai is a major figure mentioned in the article. Peng is a former doubles world number one, who had been in the forefront of the events in China. She had accused a Chinese official of sexual assault only to later deny the claims. Her situation gained a lot of attention and raised concerns about her safety and security.
The WTA has been active in taking necessary steps to resume events in China. Recent reports also showed that the WTA is eager to meet with Peng in person before any Chinese tournament can be held. The organization wishes to ensure the safety of Peng and wishes to ensure that she is comfortable with the situation moving forward.
The ITF is set on its efforts to promote grassroots tennis, allowing the sport to grow beyond the current 213 countries that it is spread in. The ITF is dedicated to providing the best and safest opportunities for people to enjoy their favourite sport and with the world Tennis Tour, the organization is well on its way to do so. With all the exciting developments happening around the world, the ITF is looking forward to a successful future.