The Hong Kong Tennis Association has accused the women's world governing body of "bullying and intimidation" after being fined US$10,000 for making "disparaging" remarks about Eugenie Bouchard for her last-minute withdrawal from the inaugural Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open last September. HKTA president Herbert Chow Siu-lung said they would appeal against the fine and demand the Women's Tennis Association make an apology. He also said the punishment for the comments made to the South China Morning Post was an attack on free speech. 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 Herbert Chow "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 said on Wednesday, after receiving a letter from the WTA. Read the original SCMP story that got Hong Kong Tennis in trouble The executive vice-president of the WTA, Laurence Applebaum, said the HKTA had violated the world governing body's code of conduct by criticising Bouchard, who withdrew from the new event citing fatigue after playing at the US Open the previous week. Applebaum wrote: "The WTA has determined that your comments that 'Bouchard had failed to honour her commitment' and that 'she didn't keep her word' disparaged Ms Bouchard and called into question her integrity which imperiled her reputation and financial interests." Applebaum cited section F of the WTA's code of conduct, which says tournament support personnel must refrain from "public comments, whether or not to the media, which unreasonably attack or disparage a tournament, sponsor, player, official or the WTA". He added: "Responsible expressions of legitimate disagreement with WTA policies are not prohibited; however, public comments that one knows, or should reasonably know, will harm the reputation or financial best interests of a player or the WTA are expressly prohibited." Chow said it was a disgrace the WTA had chosen to take the Canadian's side. "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," he said. "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. "This will not affect the event in 2015 but the HKTA council will take into serious consideration as to whether or not the WTA would qualify as a long-term partner when the tournament owner puts in so much effort and financial resources to make it a successful event every year." In the Post on September 7, Chow said the HKTA was "very disappointed with [Bouchard] ... [and felt] let down that she did not honour her agreement". "She is simply tired ... surely she should have kept her word," Chow added. At number eight in the world, pin-up girl Bouchard would have been the highest-ranked player at the tournament. In a letter to the HKTA council, Chow said: "Eugenie Bouchard had a contract with the HKTO agreed by her agent on April 2014 to play with agreed appearance fees, plus a bonus for reaching top 10 on the WTA ranking list. Bouchard only withdrew on September 6 citing fatigue when the tournament had actually begun [with] plenty of tickets sold and plenty of advertising dollars spent with her image on it [approved by the WTA]. "Bouchard lost in the quarter-finals of the US Open on September 3 and the HKTO was only able to inform the public through the press on September 7. Instead of warning the player, the WTA has chosen to fine the tournament," Chow said.