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WTA is still “deeply concerned” about tennis star Peng Shuai


WTA Chairman Steve Simon reached out to Peng Shuai via various communication channels.© AFP

The head of the Women’s Tennis Association “remains deeply concerned” about the Chinese star Peng Shuai, following her accusations of sexual assault against a powerful politician, a spokeswoman told AFP on Saturday. WTA chairman Steve Simon “reached out to Peng Shuai via various communication channels. He sent her two e-mails, in which it was clear that her answers were influenced by others,” she said. “He remains deeply concerned that Peng is not free from censorship or coercion and has decided not to get involved again by email until he is satisfied that her answers were her own, and not those of her censors,” she said. added.

“The WTA remains concerned about its ability to communicate freely, openly and directly.”

Peng, a 35-year-old Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion, has not been seen for more than two weeks after her allegations that former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli, now in his 70s, forced her to have sex for a year long op- ratio down.

On Sunday, official photos of a Beijing tennis tournament showed Peng among the contestants, and she took part in a video call the same day with the head of the International Olympic Committee.

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The European Union, the United Nations, the United States and Britain have all asked for evidence of Peng’s whereabouts and well-being.

China’s foreign ministry said that “people need to stop deliberately and maliciously dispelling the controversy surrounding Peng”.

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