ITF says player safety top priority amid concerns over China’s Peng | Tennis News

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The Worldwide Tennis Federation (ITF) is dedicated to participant security and helps an investigation into the whereabouts of Chinese language participant Peng Shuai, the governing physique stated on Thursday.
Peng, 35, hasn’t been seen or heard from publicly since she stated on social media {that a} former vice-premier of China, Zhang Gaoli, coerced her into intercourse and that they later had an on-off consensual relationship.
Her submit was deleted about half an hour later.
“Participant security is at all times our prime precedence and we help a full and clear investigation into this matter,” the ITF stated in a press release to Reuters.
Ladies’s Tennis Affiliation (WTA) chairman Steve Simon expressed doubt over an e mail the affiliation acquired on Wednesday wherein Peng denied the allegations of sexual assault.
The e-mail, launched by Chinese language state media outlet CGTN, quoted Peng as saying: “I am not lacking, nor am I unsafe. I’ve simply been resting at dwelling and every thing is ok.”
Simon stated he had a “arduous time believing” that Peng really wrote the e-mail herself.
“The assertion launched right now by Chinese language state media regarding Peng Shuai solely raises my issues as to her security and whereabouts,” he stated in a press release.
“The WTA and the remainder of the world want impartial and verifiable proof that she is secure. I’ve repeatedly tried to succeed in her through quite a few types of communication, to no avail.”
Simon’s calls for have been backed up by human rights group Amnesty Worldwide, which stated that China should show that the participant is secure.
“Peng’s current so-called assertion that ‘every thing is ok’ shouldn’t be taken at face worth as China’s state media has a observe document of forcing statements out of people underneath duress, or else merely fabricating them,” stated Amnesty’s China researcher, Doriane Lau.
“These issues won’t go away until Peng’s security and whereabouts are confirmed.”
Reuters reached out to the Chinese Tennis Association in addition to the International Olympic Committee however didn’t instantly obtain a response.
There was mounting concern for Peng amongst fellow gamers, with four-times main winner Naomi Osaka and males’s world primary Novak Djokovic each expressing shock.
“Censorship isn’t okay at any price. I hope Peng Shuai and her household are secure and okay. I am in shock of the present state of affairs and I am sending love and lightweight her approach,” Osaka wrote on Twitter.

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