Federer on Peng Shuai: ‘I hope she’s safe’
Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer has voiced concern over the missing Chinese player Peng Shuai.
“She’s one of our tennis champions, a former world No. 1, and clearly it’s concerning,” Federer told Sky Sports Italy on Saturday night. “I hope she’s safe. The tennis family sticks together and I’ve always told my children as well that the tennis family is my second family. I’ve been on tour for 20-25 years and I love the tour, I love the people that are there, (they) are special, the players as well, and she’s one of them."
Former doubles world number one Peng had not been seen or heard from publicly since she said on Chinese social media on November 2 that former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli had coerced her into sex and they later had an on-off consensual relationship.
However, on Sunday it was reported that the Chinese tennis player had held a video callExternal link with the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, and said she was safe and well.
China’s Foreign Ministry has repeatedly disavowed any knowledge of Peng’s case. Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told media on Friday the issue is “not a diplomatic question and I’m not aware of the situation.”
Amid growing concern about Peng’s whereabouts, the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has threatened to pull tournaments out of China and the men's ATP has demanded clarity from the Chinese authorities. The United States has called for proof of Peng's whereabouts and safety.
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