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All is not well between Hong Kong Tennis Association President and WTA

WTA takes action after the Hong Kong Tennis Association criticises Eugenie Bouchard.

FEATURED COLUMNIST
News 09 Jan 2015, 12:29 IST
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Herbert Chow Siu-Lung

The public outburst by the Hong Kong Tennis Association(HKTA) on Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard for her withdrawal from the inaugural Hong Kong Open in September 2014 has cost them dearly. HKTA president Herbert Chow Siu-Lung has now been $10000 by the Women's Tennis Association(WTA). The 20-year-old had cited tiredness for her pulling out of the event.

According to a South China Morning Post report, The WTA feels that there was a breach in the code of conduct on the part of the Association and said that the comments have hurt the reputation and the financial interests of Bouchard.

The fine hasn't gone down too well with the HKTA officials with President Herbert Chow Siu-lung saying that he was disappointed by the action by the WTA.

"I see this as an act of bullying and intimidation and I ask that this (HKTA) council responds responsibly to such injustice from the WTA," Chow was quoted as saying in the report.

"I am disappointed the WTA has taken this small-minded action to punish a new event on the WTA calendar, which was operated so successfully,” Chow was quoted, saying in the report.

"I am baffled the WTA has ignored the efforts of the Hong Kong Tennis Open and just focused on protecting and spoiling one player.

"The conduct clause they cited was meant to protect all three stakeholders: the tournament, WTA and players. The HKTA will definitely make an appeal over this fine and will also seek an apology from the WTA," he added.

It is now personal

WTA executive vice-president Laurence Applebaum reiterated that the Hong Kong Tennis Open was a success, but Siu-lung’s remarks on the Canadian No. 1 was uncalled for. Applebaum said that Bouchard had “committed no violation” which did not go down well with Siu-lung. 

“Please note that the WTA has not fined the Hong Kong Tennis Open. The fine is a code of conduct violation committed by Herbert Chow for the disparaging comments made as referenced in the original notice.

“The code of conduct serves as a guide for the acceptable professional behaviour of not only players, but of tournament officials and support personnel as it relates to the promotion of the positive image of women’s professional tennis. Finally it is critical to note that all WTA players are aware of the requirement to enter each WTA event, at least, six weeks out from the start of the tournament. Eugenie Bouchard never official entered the Hong Kong Tennis Open and as a result committed no violation of the WTA Rules,” Applebaum said.

Tha matter soon escalated as Siu-lung refused to pay the fine. “Based on the comments made by Mr Lawrence Applebaum, it appears the fine is personal and not directed at the HKTO nor the HKTA. Under such circumstances, I ask that the council takes no action and pays no fine as I shall wait and see what the WTA can do to me personally,” Chow wrote back to the HKTA council.


 
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