WTA fails to reward top female tennis player from Taiwan

By Todd Starnes

The WTA has selected China’s Li Na as the player of the year, but their “No. 1 female tennis player” from Taiwan, Peng Shuai, will not be on that list because WTA doesn’t recognize professional players from Taiwan.

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“We do consider players from the Mainland and its supporters, especially in the sporting sphere, but we are only ‘recognizing’ players who live and play in the country for which they represent,” WTA told Agence France-Presse.

That is why Guan Qingmin is not on the list for the WTA. And that is why Ma Yafan is not on the list for the WTA. And that is why Maria Sakkari is not on the list for the WTA.

And that is why Peng Shuai is not on the list for the WTA.

“The WTA issues ‘honorary’ player of the year awards in recognition of the achievements of the very best female tennis players in 2017,” the WTA told EICP in a statement.

Peng Shuai is one of the five highest ranking Chinese players. She’s been ranked as high as number 5 in the world. But she only turned pro in 2014 because of the ping pong crackdown under the current Chinese president.

“The justice of the situation that makes it necessary to compromise her WTA career because of the reaction of the Chinese government will only create more problems for the women in China in the years to come,” said Wang Shuguang, a China-based tennis coach.

I spoke with a former manager of China’s men’s tennis team and he told me, “What it all boils down to is the image that women are not as smart as men. They still prefer to play other women on court.”

Wang said he wouldn’t make that sort of statement if he were working for a male player. He said he was surprised by the WTA’s decision to exclude Peng Shuai.

You know it’s a serious issue when some of the most respected brands are expressing a profound concern.

“China has demanded there be no black players or a reverse political views,” Wang said. “The WTA has chosen to do the same. I am sure they have a very good reason to keep it that way, but the backroom politics has to stop. You must respect the people and form guidelines that you can be completely happy with.”

“It’s a big problem,” he added. “It’s no longer a tennis player issue.”

The WTA said they have offered Peng Shuai’s agent compensation for her honor of being recognized as their “most valuable player” — but the player didn’t like the idea.

“I just don’t want to accept because we are allowed to?” she said. “Or do I have to accept so we are paid enough?”

She said she was “really angry and sad” about it.

For the record, WTA made $116 million in 2017.

Li Na received $700,000 for being named the 2017 “top female tennis player in the world.”

But the Chinese press pointed out that the prize was more than the $600,000 that Peng Shuai made for making the top 20 in 2017.

“The Liaoning Sports Media Office just added some humour to the news this morning by joking that Li Na won ‘big money’ for ‘leaving the female tennis tour’ after winning the Australian Open,” reported Beijing News.

Their columnist added: “Li Na is still so happy about winning the Australian Open. But rather than appreciate her achievements, the WTA has kept her out of the WTA’s top 10. ”

And that’s what our freedom journalism is all about – reporting the news to the people, breaking down barriers to free expression and disseminating the truth.

God bless the USA!

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is “God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values.” Follow Todd on Twitter @ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.

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