The chairman of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has called for “independent and verifiable proof” Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai is safe.
She’s missing ever since she accused a former top member of her country’s government of sexual assault.
A statement from the WTA’s Steve Simon says he “has a hard time believing” Shuai was the author of an email claiming to be from her.
Peng Shuai, the tennis pro from China has hasn’t been seen or heard from since she accused former vice premier of China, Zhang Gaoli, of sexual assault on November 2.
According to Simon, Chinese Tennis Association sources have assured Simon that Peng is safe, and not under any physical threat, in Beijing. But Simon would like to hear this account from Peng herself. “I will remain worried until I am able to speak with her, or she speaks with somebody in our organisation, whomever she’s comfortable with,” says Simon. “So that we can be assured that she’s OK and where she’s at. And that she knows we’re here to support her in any way that we can. That’s our number one priority. The other things are secondary.”
After calling for an official investigation, Steve Simon has also threatened to move all WTA tournaments—altogether worth billions of dollars in business, from China, and other stakeholders—out of China if the country’s governing bodies don’t comply.
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) November 16, 2021