Australian Open news: ‘Where is Peng Shuai’ T-shirts now allowed as organisers make U-turn
Spectators at the Australian Open are welcome to wear T-shirts supporting Peng Shuai, tournament director Craig Tiley has said.
Organisers have been heavily criticised after a woman wearing a “Where is Peng Shuai” T-shirt was ejected from the event last week, with Martina Navratilova branding the move “cowardly” and accusing Tennis Australia of “capitulating” to China.
There has been major concern inside and outside tennis for the well-being of the former world doubles No 1 since she disappeared from public life in November after making allegations on social media about a senior Chinese official.
— 10 News First Melbourne (@10NewsFirstMelb) January 23, 2022
Peng has since made several public appearances but there remain serious question marks regarding her freedom and the WTA has suspended all tournaments in China.
Craig Tiley, the chief executive of Tennis Australia and Australian Open tournament director, told the PA news agency the issue was not with the T-shirt but intent to disrupt the tournament.
He said: “We were on the journey at the very beginning with the WTA and that’s because we’re well connected in the region. We agree with the WTA’s position.
“However, coming onto the site we have some terms and conditions that are pretty clear and that is, if you are coming on site with the purpose of disrupting the safety and comfort of fans, you’re not welcome. But if you want to wear a T-shirt that says ‘Where’s Peng Shuai?’, you can come on site, that’s fine.
“There was a suspicion around the motivation of that individual coming on site but we’ve since contacted that person and told her that she’s welcome to come on site, she’s welcome to wear a T-shirt, but not bring a banner, because you can’t bring banners on site.
“It doesn’t have anything to do with a political or commercial statement. Our security people are trained to take a common sense approach, and I think that’s in the interest of everyone.”
Volunteers for the Democratic Alliance Party have entered the #AusOpen wearing “Where is Peng Shuai” t-shirts.
Craig Tiley sensationally reversed his decision to confiscate them. pic.twitter.com/QoUh2grUjK
— Telegraph Sport (@telegraph_sport) January 25, 2022
Fans wearing Peng Shuai T-shirts were filmed entering Melbourne Park on Tuesday.
Having kept a very low profile in the aftermath of Novak Djokovic’s deportation, Tiley has been more visible in recent days.
Tennis Australia came under fire for its role in pushing for exemptions for unvaccinated players to enter the country, but Tiley dismissed suggestions the fiasco had damaged the tournament’s reputation.
Carlos Alcaraz ready to dethrone clay kings Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
Teenager Alcaraz, seeded sixth, would meet one of the two stalwarts in the last four should he make it.
French Open crowd turn on their own booing Alize Cornet for retiring
The French Open crowd showed no sympathy for an injured Alize Cornet.
Iga Swiatek demonstrates problem-solving ability in 31st straight win
Iga Swiatek wasn’t at her best but still delivered a straight-sets win.
Tennis365’s live scores and results centre: Follow the French Open here
Aaaaand it’s live! Follow the action from Roland Garros…
Miomir Kecmanovic feels clay could be a leveller against Daniil Medvedev
Kecmanovic started the year at 69 in the world and is now 31st.
French Open Day six: Djokovic and Nadal on track but British bid ends
Cameron Norrie was the last British player to fall in the singles competition, beaten in four sets by Karen Khachanov.
Irina-Camelia Begu cops biggest fine so far at 2022 French Open after ‘unacceptable’ incident
Irina-Camelia Begu lucky not to be disqualified, but not so lucky with the fine.
Rafael Nadal produces his ‘best match’ at 2022 French Open, up next Felix Auger-Aliassime and Uncle Toni
Rafael Nadal edges closer to potential Novak Djokovic showdown.
Novak Djokovic striving for perfection and more aggression after easing into Roland Garros fourth round
Novak Djokovic marches on at Roland Garros.
Belinda Bencic fumes at umpire over time violation during defeat to Leylah Fernandez at Roland Garros
It’s Leylah Fernandez v Amanda Anisimova up next at Roland Garros.