Disappeared Peng Shuai: Williams, Zverev & Co. call for clarification

Peng Shuai
The case of the missing tennis player calls sports stars on the scene

© Zhong Zhi / Getty Images

For two weeks now there has been no trace of the Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai. After the athlete publicly alleged abuse of former Chinese Vice Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli, no one saw her. The sports world is concerned.

Peng Shuai, 35, suddenly disappeared from the scene. In early November 2021, she made serious allegations against former Chinese Vice Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli, 75, public on the Chinese short message service Weibo. The allegations weigh heavily: it is about abuse. But within a very short time the posting was deleted again. Since then, the former double world number one and double winner at Wimbledon and the French Open has been missing.

Peng Shuai: How real is your apology email?

An alleged sign of life from the athlete was published on November 17th by the Chinese state broadcaster CGTN on Twitter. The screenshot of an email that is supposed to come from Peng was posted. In it, she apparently revokes her allegations against the politician and declares: “I have just rested at home and everything is fine.” However, the authenticity of the lines is doubted by many.

Serena Williams: “I’m devastated”

The Chinese authorities have so far refused to comment. But the world of sports is urgently calling for clarification and is mobilizing on the Internet. “I am devastated and shocked by the news about my colleague Peng Shuai. I hope she is safe and will be found as soon as possible,” tweeted multiple Grand Slam winner Serena Williams, 40, demanding: “This must be investigated and we must not be silent. ”

Alexander Zverev: “I hope she will be found soon”

German professionals are also concerned. “We are talking about a human life, and that is much more blatant than anything we do here. I hope it will be found soon,” said Alexander Zverev, 24, after his victorious match against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, 24, at the ATP -Finals in Turin.

Former tennis pro Julia Görges, 33, tweeted: “I am deeply concerned about the ongoing situation around Peng Shuai. We live in a world where sacrifices should not be silenced and I stand by the entire tennis community Statement, we want answers! ” She provided her post with the hashtag #whereisPengShuai, which has since gone viral.

Are there any consequences for China now?

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) goes so far as to threaten China with consequences by considering withdrawing tournaments from the country. “We are definitely ready to do so and would take care of all the complications that come with it,” WTA boss Steve Simon told CNN. That would bring the association a loss worth millions, but for Simon the focus is on clarifying Peng Shuai’s whereabouts: “This is bigger than business. Women must be respected and not censored,” he said emphatically.

Only the International Olympic Committee (IOC) keeps out of the guesswork. “Experience shows that quiet diplomacy is the best way to find a solution to questions of this kind,” a spokesman told Reuters. “This explains why the IOC will not comment further at this point in time.”

Sources used: twitter.com, cnn.com, reuters.com


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