Jan 25, 2022 - Sports

Australian Open organizers reverse "Where is Peng Shuai?" T-shirt ban

Peng Shuai of China serves to Hibino Nao of Japan during their women's singles first round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia on Jan. 21
Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai during the 2020 Australian Open in Melbourne. Photo: Bai Xue/Xinhua via Getty Images

Australian Open organizers on Tuesday reversed a ban on T-shirts supporting Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai following widespread criticism.

Why it matters: Tennis Australia's announcement came less than 24 hours after the governing body defended the decision to ask fans last Friday to remove "Where is Peng Shuai?" T-shirts, citing a ticket policy prohibiting political clothing, per the BBC.

What they're saying: Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley told Australian media Tuesday that if someone wants to "make a statement" on a T-shirt about Peng, "that's fine."

  • But he added that banners would still be prohibited, citing safety concerns.

The big picture: Peng is missing from Melbourne and there have been concerns for her well-being since the 36-year-old last November accused Zhang Gaoli, a former vice premier of China, of sexual assault.

Go deeper