WTA Finals moved to Texas, 'due' to return to China in 2023

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The season-ending WTA Finals will take place in Texas next month and are due to return to China in 2023, the WTA said Tuesday.

In a statement, the WTA said this year's championships would take place in Fort Worth from October 31-November 7 at the Dickies Arena.

The WTA said the event was "due to return" to Shenzhen, China in 2023.

The tournament was last held in China in 2019 but was cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2021 the finals were moved to Guadalajara, Mexico, because of the health situation and travel restrictions.

Shenzhen was named as the long-term venue for the championships in 2018, with the southern Chinese city due to host the tournament through 2028.

Since then, however, the WTA has suspended all tournaments in China over concerns for the well-being of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai.

The former doubles world number one alleged in a social media post last November that former Chinese vice-premier Zhang Gaoli forced her into sex during a years-long relationship.

The post was swiftly deleted and Peng was not heard from for nearly three weeks, prompting concern around the world about her safety. She has since appeared at some public events, and denied ever making the accusation.

A WTA spokeswoman told AFP on Tuesday that its tournaments in China remain suspended for 2022 but that events could return next year.

"The WTA continues to work towards a resolution in China and are hopeful we will be in a position to operate events in the region in 2023 and beyond but will not compromise our founding principles in order to do so," the spokeswoman said in a statement.

"Peng Shuai took a bold step in publicly coming forth with the accusation that she was sexually assaulted by a senior Chinese government leader.

"As we would do with any of our players globally, we have called for a formal investigation into the allegations by the appropriate authorities and an opportunity for the WTA to meet with Peng - privately - to discuss her situation.

"We continue to hold firm on our position and our thoughts remain with Peng Shuai."

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