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WTA Finals Set for Texas This 12 months, but a Return to China Is Uncertain


The WTA announced Tuesday that Fort Price would host its annual season-ending WTA Finals this yr.

The tournament, which can begin Oct. 31, said it had a one-year agreement to play in Fort Price, “with the event thereafter as a consequence of return to Shenzhen, China.” However the WTA said the suspension of its tournaments in China remained in place, leaving the WTA Finals’ return to China in 2023 uncertain.

WTA tournaments in China have been suspended since December, when Steve Simon, the tour’s chairman and chief executive, announced the choice, after the Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai shared in a post online an allegation of sexual assault against a former top Chinese government official.

In the next weeks, Peng, 36, was not seen publicly, and it was unclear whether she was protected or capable of speak freely without interference from the Chinese government. She later deleted her post.

In November, the editor of a state-run newspaper shared clips said to be of the Chinese tennis star on Twitter. But they were unverified, and Simon called them “insufficient.” The WTA had called for Chinese authorities to research the accusation and end censorship on the topic before suspending tournaments.

After Peng went public together with her allegations, tennis fans were spotted at tournaments, including this yr’s Australian Open, with signs and T-shirts reading “Where is Peng Shuai?” Others, including Serena Williams, took to social media to specific concerns about Peng’s safety.

“If powerful people can suppress the voices of ladies and sweep allegations of sexual assault under the rug, then the premise on which the WTA was founded — equality for ladies — would suffer an immense setback,” Simon said in a statement in December, announcing an efficient boycott of tennis in China. “I won’t and can’t let that occur to the WTA and its players.”

In February, across the time Peng met with the International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach on the Beijing Games, Simon called for a likelihood to have a non-public meeting with Peng, adding in a statement that “we proceed to carry firm on our position and our thoughts remain with Peng Shuai.”

In an email on Tuesday, a WTA spokeswoman said that the organization “continues to work towards a resolution in China and are hopeful we might be able to operate events within the region in 2023 and beyond but won’t compromise our founding principles with a purpose to achieve this.”

The WTA’s stance has not come and not using a cost. China had been a fundamental source of economic stability for the WTA, with 10 events that accounted for about one-third of the tour’s annual revenue in 2019. Essentially the most profitable and recognized of those events was the WTA Finals, which offered record prize money of $14 million in 2019.

The WTA gained some relief from that lack of revenue in March, when, after greater than a decade and not using a title sponsor, it agreed to a multiyear cope with Hologic, a number one global medical device and diagnostics company focused on women’s health.

The WTA Finals have been roaming the world for a house since 2019, which was the primary yr of what was purported to be a 10-year deal that might have kept the tournament in Shenzhen, a city of greater than 17 million.

But the next yr, the WTA Finals were canceled due to coronavirus pandemic, and in 2021, the tournament scrambled on the last minute to seek out a number and ended up in Guadalajara, Mexico, where Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain won the ultimate against Anett Kontaveit of Estonia.

Having the tournament in Texas this yr brings the WTA Finals, which has had different names over time, back to america for the primary time since 2005, and it adds to the tour’s presence in america to finish the yr. After the U.S. Open, the WTA may 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 Price, about 30 miles west of Dallas, might be played at Dickies Arena, a 14,000-seat multipurpose venue that opened in 2019. The venue has hosted a rodeo, concert events, the U.S. Gymnastics Championships, and the primary and second rounds of the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament.

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