Why Did the WTA Risk Everything for Peng Shuai?

December 17, 2021

Steve Simon didn’t start the year expecting to be in central Mexico in mid-November. But COVID-19 has made improvisers of us all, including the CEO of the WTA Tour. He anticipated closing out the 2021 season in Shenzhen, China, at the WTA Finals, the event from which the Women’s Tennis Association derives a significant share of its revenue. Just three years earlier, to much fanfare, he’d signed a deal to hold the Finals there for the next decade, doubling the tournament’s prize money purse to $14 million. But when the event was canceled in July for the second straight year on account of COVID-19, Simon resembled a tennis player caught out of position and was left scrambling. SI