24 Nov 2021 | 08:35
Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai hasn’t been seen in public for 18 days and counting. This comes after she accused a former Chinese Communist party leader of sexual assault on Nov. 2. It has created significant concern within the WTA and tennis community over her whereabouts.
The former French Open and Wimbledon doubles champion claimed retired Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli forced her into sex three years ago in a since-deleted online post to the Chinese social-media site Weibo. Peng has not been seen in public since, aside from a heavily-scrutinized video Chinese state media released of her at a Beijing restaurant on Saturday and an alleged video call with the president of the International Olympic Committee on Sunday.
The WTA has actively pressured China into confirming Peng’s safety and investigating her allegations, even threatening to pull its lucrative business from the country if those actions aren’t taken. The White House and United Nations also came to Peng’s defense, as both called for investigations into her allegations and disappearance.
Peng’s tennis peers have been equally supportive, with Novak Djokovic calling her disappearance “shocking” and Chris Evert describing the entire situation as “disturbing.” Billie Jean King wrote that she hopes Peng, a former world No. 1, is found safe while Alize Cornet added “Let’s not remain silent” with the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai.