The Women’s Tennis Association will withdraw its China Open and Wuhan Open tournaments from next week’s schedule due to concern over health and safety of players and officials in response to the circumstances surrounding Chinese player Peng Shuai’s withdrawal from her match Friday against Dominika Cibulkova in Montreal.
Peng left the Rogers Cup in Montreal earlier this week due to a chest injury, not an apparent injury to her stomach muscles. The moment where Peng complained about her stomach muscles was not captured by television and was widely circulated on social media.
Peng will not be able to rest her stomach muscles or return to competition anytime soon. The WTA announced a medical exemption so Peng can recuperate for at least a month.
In the statement released by the WTA, it was stated that “given the real danger to the safety of players and officials at these events, the WTA will be withdrawing the China Open and Wuhan Open tournaments from the next week’s schedule.”
The WTA did not directly criticize the physical condition of the Montreal courts, the same surface on which Cibulkova allegedly poked Peng.
“It is a decision that the WTA Board believes is the right one at this time for the benefit of our players and our sport,” the statement said.
Peng’s attorney, Carlo Peretti, stated in a statement that the illness she says she had in Montreal was “discovered during an ultrasound scan at a local hospital prior to the match, causing her to lose consciousness for a few minutes and to have trouble with her breathing as she stood up for the finish of the match.”
The medical exemption should allow Peng to participate in the US Open regardless of her medical condition.