Peng Shuai suddenly lost track last November after the allegations of harassment she leveled at a former vice president of the Communist Party, Zhang Gaoli. An air of great mystery continues to hover around the story of the Chinese.
The whole world of tennis had taken steps to find answers about her safety, including the WTA, who had immediately suspended the events on the calendar in China and launched an investigation. Reassuring answers came last February, when Peng Shuai reappeared in public at the Beijing Winter Olympics, also giving an interview to L'Équipe, as well as keeping in touch with the president of the IOC (International Olympic Committee) Thomas Bach.
That, however, was the last outing of the former Grand Slam champion in doubles: from that moment on, in fact, complete silence about her condition returned.
Peng Shuai, the WTA remains anxious
Bach himself, however, had revealed to the French newspaper that he had invited her to Lausanne, the seat of the committee, only to receive the decline of Peng who wanted to postpone her visit.
"She had to quarantine herself for twenty-one days to be able to meet me at the Games, rather than undergo another similar period she preferred to wait a bit," explained the IOC number one. Amelie Mauresmo, director of the Roland Garros, also revealed that she had tried, in vain, to invite her to the Porte d'Auteuil this year.
Those who, on the other hand, did not have the opportunity to establish further contacts with the Chinese player is the WTA, which, using a spokesperson, expressed its concern to L'Équipe: "It was nice to see her in public during the Olympics but this has not diminished our concern after the message of last November 2nd.
Peng was courageous in publicly indicating that she was assaulted by a top Chinese government politician. As with all players in similar cases, we requested an investigation and a chance to meet Peng privately. And we remain firm on our positions.
We continue to work so that we can return to play in China in 2023, but we do not give up our principles for this."