Tennis legends come to SA for events used as vehicles in the fight against gender-based violence

Venus Williams and Martina Hingis, two of the greatest tennis legends of all time, and Simona Halep, consistently one of the best players in the world the past seven years, will be coming to South Africa to play in Africa Cares Tennis tournament on the 18th and 19th December 2021 in Johannesburg. The event aims to promote tennis in South Africa, but will also be used as a vehicle in the fight against gender-based violence.

The event will also feature a host of other international tennis players who are set to thrill South African tennis fans over the two days, reports www.iol.co.za (17th November 2021).

The events will be open to vaccinated people only. All Covid-19 event protocols will be strictly observed and adhered to, ensuring the safety of all attendees and participants. There will only be 2000 premium hospitality tickets available per day for purchase, complying with the maximum number of people allowed for outdoor events. Tickets will be available for purchase on the Ticketpro ticketing platform from 9am on Friday the 19th of November 2021.

“Gender-based violence continues to be a widespread problem. I look forward to participating in the Africa Cares Tennis Challenge to help not only raise awareness on gender-based violence but help encourage a change in violent behavior”, Hingis told www.iol.co.za.

Some of the official partners of the event are the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture & Recreation and MOT SA who will be responsible for activations to help educate the youth on issues around gender-based violence and encourage positive change.

Williams (41) won seven Grand Slam singles titles during her glorious career, as well as sixteen Grand Slam doubles and mixed doubles titles, and is a former number-1 ranked player in the world. Her exploits include five Wimbledon singles titles.

Hingis was the youngest ever player to win a Grand Slam title when she secured the Wimbledon doubles title at the tender age of 15 years and 282 days in 1996.

She won 25 Grand Slam titles during her career, including five in singles and 20 in doubles and mixed doubles.

During 1998, she won the calendar-year Grand Slam in doubles.

The Romanian star Halep was consistently the best player in the world between 2017 and 2019. She won the French Open title in 2018 and the Wimbledon title in 2019.

As the tennis stars will be expressing their opposition against gender-based violence, 1000 Women Trust has established itself as one of the most prominent women-led organizations in South Africa in the fight against the second pandemic.

The Trust focuses on fundraising and creating awareness for domestic and gender-based violence and abuse. “We believe that if women have access to knowledge, skills, and resources, they will find their own solutions to combat violence against women and girls. We are committed to ending gender-based violence and femicide in our society by empowering, inspiring, educating, and equipping women and girls through various projects, grants, and training initiatives,” said Tina Thiart, trustee of 1000 Women Trust.

International tennis has been rocked the past two weeks by the revelations by the Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai that she was sexually assaulted by a former vice-premier of China, Zhang Gaoli. She made the revelations on the social media site Weibo.

She said she was forced into a sexual relationship with Zhang. Zang served as China’s vice premier between 2013 and 2018 and was a close ally of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

What is particularly disturbing was that Shaui’s post was taken down from the site and all mention of her on social media has been scrubbed. She has not been seen or heard of publicly since reported www.bbc.co.uk on 17th November.

Several players, including the multiple Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka, have described their shock and outrage about the status quo as nobody knows the former world number-1 player Shaui’s whereabouts. Osaka tweeted, using the hashtag #WhereisPengShuai.

Chief Executive of the Women Tennis Association (WTA) Steve Simon had earlier called on Chinese authorities to conduct “a full and transparent investigation” into Peng’s allegations involving sexual assault.

“We commend Peng Shuai for her remarkable courage… women around the world are finding their voices so injustices can be corrected.”

Simon said the WTA had received confirmation from several sources, including the Chinese Tennis Association that Ms. Peng was safe, but added that he had not been able to reach her directly.

“My understand is that she is in Beijing in China, but I can’t confirm that because I haven’t spoken directly with her,” Simon told news outlet The New York Times.

Peng’s allegation is the highest-profile case in China’s #MeToo movement, which has mostly been going under the radar. (Source: www.bbc.co.uk, 17th November 2021).