WTA 'deeply concerned' after failing to get into direct contact with Peng Shuai

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WTA 'deeply concerned' after failing to get into direct contact with Peng Shuai

WTA CEO Steve Simon said the WTA "remains deepy concerned" about Peng Shuai. After accusing a former Chinese vice premier of sexual assault, Peng went missing in China. Over the last week, videos surfaced showing Peng enjoying a meal at a restaurant and attending a tennis event.

The WTA was encouraged by those videos but they made it clear they need more evidence that Peng is actually safe and well. The WTA sent a couple of mails to Peng but to them it was "clear her responses were influenced by others."

"The WTA remains concerned about her ability to communicate freely, openly, and directly," the WTA stated in an email sent on Saturday.

China could lose the WTA events over the Peng situation

"If at the end of the day we don't see the appropriate results from this, we would be prepared to take that step and not operate our business in China, if that's what it came to," Simon said.

The WTA received a mail that was claimed to be sent from Peng two weeks ago. In the mail, it was said that Peng was fine and that her accusations were false. "The statement released today by Chinese state media concerning Peng Shuai only raises my concerns as to her safety and whereabouts," WTA CEO Simon said in response to the mail.

"I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her. Peng Shuai displayed incredible courage in describing an allegation of sexual assault against a former top official in the Chinese government.

The WTA and the rest of the world need independent and verifiable proof that she is safe. I have repeatedly tried to reach her via numerous forms of communication, to no avail. "Peng Shuai must be allowed to speak freely, without coercion or intimidation from any source.

Her allegation of sexual assault must be respected, investigated with full transparency and without censorship. "The voices of women need to be heard and respected, not censored nor dictated to”.