Peng Shuai: Chinese tennis player's sexual assault allegation must be investigated, say WTA
Peng Shuai, 35, reportedly alleged on social media earlier this month she was assaulted by a Chinese politician, but the post was soon deleted; "Peng Shuai, and all women, deserve to be heard, not censored," say WTA in a statement
Last Updated: 19/11/21 8:12am
The Women's Tennis Association has called for a full, transparent investigation into an allegation of sexual assault made by Chinese player Peng Shuai.
The 35-year-old, a former world No 1 in doubles, reportedly alleged on social media earlier this month she was assaulted by a Chinese politician, but the post was soon deleted.
In a statement, WTA chairman Steve Simon said: "The recent events in China concerning a WTA player, Peng Shuai, are of deep concern. As an organisation dedicated to women, we remain committed to the principles we were founded on - equality, opportunity and respect.
"Peng Shuai, and all women, deserve to be heard, not censored. Her accusation about the conduct of a former Chinese leader involving a sexual assault must be treated with the utmost seriousness.
"In all societies, the behaviour she alleges that took place needs to be investigated, not condoned or ignored. We commend Peng Shuai for her remarkable courage and strength in coming forward. Women around the world are finding their voices so injustices can be corrected.
"We expect this issue to be handled properly, meaning the allegations must be investigated fully, fairly, transparently and without censorship.
"Our absolute and unwavering priority is the health and safety of our players. We are speaking out so justice can be done."
ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said: "There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our tennis community. We have been deeply concerned by the uncertainty surrounding the immediate safety and whereabouts of WTA player Peng Shuai.
"We are encouraged by the recent assurances received by WTA that she is safe and accounted for and will continue to monitor the situation closely. Separately, we stand in full support of WTA's call for a full, fair and transparent investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Peng Shuai."