WTA Demands China Allow Contact With Missing Chinese Tennis Player Peng Shuai – Opinion

When one thinks of no-nonsense, hard-nosed sports, tennis isn’t going to be the first that comes to mind. However, tennis is currently making a stand for China. The WTA and the NBA would never consider it.

Peng Shuai, a Chinese tennis player is the focal point of this dispute. Shuai is a doubles Grand Slam winner and hasn’t been seen in public since his sexual assault claim against Zhang Gaoli (a senior official from the Chinese Communist Party) on November 2. The Age reported:

Peng stated in a Weibo message that she had been involved with Zhang for ten years. Zhang is now married. Peng claimed that the relationship included sexual contact at least once, although one such encounter was not consensual.

“That afternoon, I was very afraid. I didn’t expect it to be like this,” she wrote. “I didn’t agree to have sex with you and kept crying that afternoon.”

Today, Chinese state media distributed a message purportedly from Shuai. In it, Shuai (or whoever wrote it) insisted everything is fine, the sexual assault charge was bogus, and she’s just home chillin’. The number of people concerned about Shuai’s welfare believing the message was from her is currently holding steady at zero.

The concern for Shuai’s well-being extends to the very top of tennis. The Age reports:

WTA chief executive and chairman Steve Simon responded soon afterwards by saying the post had only heightened his fears for Peng’s safety.

“The WTA and the rest of the world need independent and verifiable proof that she is safe. I have repeatedly tried to reach her via numerous forms of communication, to no avail,” Simon said in a statement.

The WTA, unlike the IOC and NBA, is not playing footsie or reenacting China’s three brass monkeys. According to reports, the WTA threatened to withdraw all 10 current tournaments for China scheduled in 2022, if Shuai does not speak with it directly. Unlike the NBA, tennis stars like Novak Djokovic speak out.

“I did hear about it a week ago. Honestly, it’s shocking that she’s missing, more so that it’s someone that I have seen on the tour in the previous years quite a few times,” the Serb said after his win over Casper Ruud at the ATP Finals on Monday.

“It’s not much more to say than hope that she will be found, that she’s okay. It’s terrible … I can imagine just how her family feels that she’s missing.”

While praying for Ms. Shuai’s safety, it’s also good to see that there is at least one sport dedicated to playing with balls that actually has some when it comes to China.

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