Serena Williams “Shocked, Devastated” As Concern Mounts For Chinese Tennis Star Peng Shuai | Tennis News

Serena Williams on Thursday joined the refrain of concern for Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, whose whereabouts have been shrouded in thriller since she alleged a strong Chinese politician sexually assaulted her. “I am devastated and shocked to hear about the news of my peer, Peng Shuai,” former world primary Williams wrote on Twitter. “I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible. This must be investigated and we must not stay silent.” Serena Williams’ tweet was accompanied by a photograph of a smiling Peng captioned with #WhereIsPengShuai.

“Sending love to her and her family during this incredibly difficult time,” Williams added.

Peng, 35, a former Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion, alleged on the Chinese social media web site Weibo earlier this month that former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli had “forced” her into intercourse throughout a long-term on-off relationship.

The claims had been shortly scrubbed from the Twitter-like platform and she or he has not been seen since, drawing mounting concern over her wellbeing.

On Wednesday, China’s state-run CGTN revealed a screenshot on Twitter of what it stated was an electronic mail written by Peng to WTA Tour chairman Steve Simon and different WTA officers.

In the e-mail, Peng purportedly claims that her earlier accusations of sexual abuse are “not true” and says she is “resting at home and everything is fine.”

But doubts had been shortly flagged concerning the language used within the purported electronic mail from Peng, which Twitter customers famous had a cursor seen within the screenshot posted by CGTN.

WTA boss Simon stated he was struggling to consider the Peng assertion was genuine.

“The statement released today by Chinese state media concerning Peng Shuai only raises my concerns as to her safety and whereabouts,” Simon stated.

‘Incredible braveness’

“I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her,” he added.

He stated he had been repeatedly attempting to achieve Peng by way of quite a few types of communication, to no avail, and known as for “independent and verifiable proof that she is safe.”

“Peng Shuai displayed incredible courage in describing an allegation of sexual assault against a former top official in the Chinese government,” stated Simon.

“Her allegation of sexual assault must be respected, investigated with full transparency and without censorship.

“The voices of ladies should be heard and revered, not censored nor dictated to.”

China has kept silent over growing concern for the tennis star, whose claims marked the first time its fledgling #MeToo movement has struck at the top echelons of the ruling Communist Party.

But Beijing has previously faced allegations of using forced confessions on state media, with British regulators revoking CGTN’s licence for failing to comply with fairness and privacy rules.

On November 2, Peng wrote on social media that Zhang — who is in his seventies — “pressured” her into sex and said they had an on-off relationship lasting several years.

The post appeared to have been deleted quickly, however, sparking swift accusations from critics of Beijing of online censorship.

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka said Wednesday that she was in “shock” about the case, with Novak Djokovic and numerous other players in recent days saying they were deeply worried about her.

American player Jessica Pegula tweeted Thursday that she hoped the WTA “continues to point out what we stand for as gamers.”

“I hope extra folks, not simply tennis gamers, shed some mild on this deeply regarding scenario,” she wrote.

Canadian tennis’s governing body Tennis Canada issued a statement in support of Peng, calling for “unbiased and indeniable proof that she is secure.”


China’s national tennis association has not responded to AFP requests for comment.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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