The tennis star Peng shuai told officials at the International Olympic Committee that she was not in danger during a video call over the weekend, insisting there was nothing to worry about but the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA ) is still concerned about the star player.
The 35-year-old former doubles player ranked No. 1 in the world apparently disappeared around 3 weeks ago after accusing a powerful former Chinese politician of sexual assault on social media.
The message was deleted … and we haven’t heard from Shuai for weeks. Then the best tennis players like Serena williams, Naomi Osaka, and Novak Djokovic took note – with the WTA – and called for action.
Cue the 30 minute Zoom call … with IOC prez Thomas Bach, and 2 other officials.
Peng Shuai thanked the IOC for their concern for her well-being. She explained that she is safe and well, that she lives at her home in Beijing, but would like her privacy to be respected at this time. That’s why she prefers to spend her time with friends and family at the moment, ”the IOC said in a statement issued following the call.
After their interview, another IOC official said he was convinced the 2013 Wimbledon doubles winner was safe after the call.
“I was relieved to see that Peng Shuai was doing well, which was our main concern. She seemed to be relaxed. I offered to support her and keep in touch at any time of her convenience, which she obviously did. appreciated. “
But not everyone is happy with the call. The WTA, which has done an incredible job demanding responses from Chinese authorities, still have concerns about Peng’s safety.
“It was good to see Peng Shuai in recent videos, but they do not alleviate or address the WTA’s concerns about his well-being and his ability to communicate without censorship or coercion,” a spokesperson for the WTA to ESPN.
Asked specifically about the IOC’s Zoom appeal, the WTA spokesperson said: “This video does not change our call for a full, fair and transparent investigation, without censorship, into her allegation of sexual assault, which is the problem that gave rise to our initial concern. “
After not being seen or heard for weeks, Peng has become more visible lately. In addition to the video call on Sunday, Shuai was also seen at a tennis tournament in Beijing on Saturday.
The question is … is Peng coerced, or is she really free?