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Tennis: Men’s Tour Supports WTA Call to Investigate Peng Shuai’s Sexual Assault Allegations

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Tennis: Men’s Tour Supports WTA Call to Investigate Peng Shuai’s Sexual Assault Allegations.

The men’s tennis governing body (ATP) on Monday (November 15) backed the call by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) for China to investigate the sexual assault allegations made by Peng Shuai against a former vice-premier. Chinese.

The WTA had asked China to investigate Peng’s claims on Sunday while demanding an end to the censorship of the top-ranked former doubles player.

Peng, one of China’s biggest sports stars, alleged on his Weibo social media account on November 2 that Zhang Gaoli, who used to be a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo, China’s main decision-making body, forced them to have sex and then they did. an intermittent consensual relationship.

Peng, 35, said in the post, which was removed about half an hour after it was posted, that he could not provide evidence to back up his allegations.

“There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our tennis community,” ATP President Andrea Gaudenzi said in a statement on Monday. “We are deeply concerned about the uncertainty surrounding the immediate safety and whereabouts of WTA player Peng Shuai.

“We are encouraged by the recent assurances received by the WTA that it is safe and accounted for and will continue to monitor the situation closely.” Furthermore, we fully support the WTA’s call for a full, fair and transparent investigation into allegations of sexual violence. assault on Peng Shuai. ”

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) also endorsed the WTA’s call for an investigation and praised Peng for her courage. “We call on the responsible authorities in China to investigate the matter thoroughly and judge it fairly,” the USTA said.

“We at the USTA commend Peng Shuai for speaking out and acknowledge his courage in doing so.”

The Internet in China is heavily censored, and the private lives of top leaders are a particularly sensitive issue.

Zhang, now 75, was deputy prime minister from 2013 to 2018 and served on the Politburo Standing Committee from 2012 to 2017.

Concerns among the global tennis community have grown as Peng, the first Chinese player to top the world rankings when she was number one in doubles in 2014, has not been seen since publication.

Men’s world number one Novak Djokovic said he was shocked by the incident. “I found out a week ago. Honestly, it is shocking that she is missing, even more, so that she is someone I have seen on tour in the previous years quite a few times,” said the Serbian after his victory over Casper Ruud in the ATP Finals. Monday.

“It’s not much more to say than hope that they find her, that she’s okay. It’s terrible … I can imagine how her family feels when she’s missing.”

In a statement Sunday, WTA President and CEO Steve Simon said recent events were cause for deep concern. “Peng Shuai, and all women, deserve to be heard, not censored. Her accusation about the conduct of a former Chinese leader involving sexual assault must be treated with the utmost seriousness,” he said.

The information bureau of the China State Council and the Chinese Tennis Association did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the WTA statement.

The International Tennis Federation also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Simon told the New York Times on Sunday that no one on the Tour had spoken directly to Peng, but had received assurances from the Chinese Tennis Association that she was safe “and not under any physical threat.”

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