The governing body of women’s tennis revealed its calendar on Friday for the latter part of 2023, including the resumption of operations in China. As part of the calendar, China will host a WTA 1000 tournament in Beijing in September, marking the return of top-tier women’s tennis to the country.
In addition to the Beijing tournament, China will also host a WTA 500 tournament in Zhengzhou, as well as 250-level events in Guangzhou, Ningbo, and Nanchang. The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), headquartered in Florida, had previously released a partial calendar at the end of last year.
While the announcement included details about various tournaments in China, the venue for the season-ending WTA Finals was not disclosed. However, earlier reports suggested that Shenzhen would resume hosting duties for the first time since 2019 as part of its 10-year deal with the WTA.
The last two editions of the WTA Finals were held in Guadalajara and Fort Worth due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the WTA also suspended tournaments in China amid concerns regarding the safety and well-being of former doubles number one Peng Shuai.
The release of the calendar signifies a positive step forward for women’s tennis, as operations gradually resume in China and players have the opportunity to compete in various tournaments throughout the latter part of 2023.
A WTA 1000 tournament will now be played in Guadalajara.
The WTA received widespread praise for suspending tournaments in the country after Peng said in a now deleted 2021 social media post that a senior former Chinese government official had sexually assaulted her.
Peng then briefly disappeared from public view and later denied making the accusation, sparking an international outcry over her safety.
The WTA said it had called for a formal investigation into Peng’s allegations by the appropriate authorities and a chance to meet with her privately but conceded in April that the situation had shown no sign of changing.
The WTA Tour had staged nine tournaments with a total prize purse of $30.4 million in China in 2019, its last full year of operations in the country.
The men’s ATP Tour will conduct four events in China in 2023, including the Shanghai Masters, with a total financial commitment of over $16 million on its Asia swing.
(With Reuters inputs)