Tennis has returned to China after a long hiatus. At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Chinese ace Peng Shuai disappeared under mysterious circumstances. The WTA had suspended all tours in China following her disappearance, but tennis has finally resumed in the country. However, Coco Gauff still has some reservations about Shuai‘s situation.
Gauff will be playing the WTA 1000 event in Beijing on the back of her US Open victory. The 19-year-old has always shown remarkable maturity and her recent press conference was no exception either. Coco expressed her excitement about being able to play in China. While she felt no insecurity about her own safety, she brought up Peng’s situation.
Gauff stated that what happened was concerning and there were still questions. At the same time, Coco hoped that the player was doing well now. “It was a concerning situation when it happened and there’s still a lot of questions raised about that,” said Coco.
Coco Gauff says there are still a lot of questions about Peng Shuai situation:
“It was a concerning situation when it happened & there’s still a lot of questions raised about that… Regarding my safety here… the hospitality that I have received so far has been really great.… pic.twitter.com/fXSnwWFO9l
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) October 1, 2023
Shuai had leveled accusations of sexual assault against former Vice-Premier, Zhang Gaoli. The consequences of her revelation were immediate. Peng disappeared after retracting her own statements.
The WTA was deeply concerned by the turn of events. Nobody had seen or heard from Shuai in days. The association decided to suspend all tours in China indefinitely.
It has been two years since Shuai’s case happened. There was an outcry from fans and tennis players alike, with regard to her safety. However, Peng has been seen briefly a few times, but it has only raised more questions about her situation.
Several players came forward in their support of Peng Shuai
A lot of professional players came together to show their unflinching support for Shuai. Serena Williams was, perhaps one of the biggest stars to speak out for the Chinese player.
Williams joined others under the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai, which eventually became one of the biggest questions. Serena was devastated to hear about her peer’s ordeal and demanded an investigation. “Devastated and shocked to hear about the news of my peer, Peng Shuai. I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible. This must be investigated and we must not stay silent,” she said (via The Guardian).
When the WTA eventually suspended all tournaments in China, Novak Djokovic supported their stance. He believed news of Shuai’s situation was of utmost importance.
Despite Peng Shuai’s disappearance almost 2 years ago, tennis has made a comeback in China. The tennis world can only hope that she is safe.