FORMER CZECHOSLOVAKIAN and American former professional tennis player Martina Navratilova has blasted the Australian Open for banning t-shirts showing support for Chinese doubles player Peng Shuai.
Shuai accused a high ranking former senior Chinese official of sexual misconduct back in November and vanished from public life for making the claims.
The Chinese woman did appear through video links and did confirm her safety, but this has not satisfied many people, Navratilova is one of them.
— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) January 23, 2022
A video surfaced of security officials and police at the Australian Open instructing fans on Saturday to remove shirts with the slogan, ‘Where is Peng Shuai?’ on them, Tennis Australia defended its policy of no commercial or political clothing
‘Under our ticket conditions of entry we don’t allow clothing, banners or signs that are commercial or political,’ a spokesperson said.
Speaking on the Tennis Channel
Navratilova branded Tennis Australia’s stance as ‘weak’ and ‘cowardly.’
‘I find it really, really cowardly,’ she said
‘I think they are wrong on this. This is not a political statement, this is a human rights statement.
‘(Tennis Australia is) just really capitulating on this issue… letting the Chinese really dictate what they do at their own Slam. I just find it really weak.’
Many fans agree with Navratilova and think that China's has a huge influence due to one of it's big sponsors
Chinese distillery Luzhu Laojiao and Chinese mattress company De Rucci are sponsors of the year's first Grand Slam.
The deal with Luzhou Laojiao is one of the biggest in the tournament's history and worth £53m, with the Open even renaming a Melbourne Park court 1573 Arena after one of Luzhou's signature products.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshMedia) January 23, 2022