We must not stay silent: Serena Williams on Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai's disappearance
- "I am devastated and shocked," Serena Williams said in a tweet
- Peng Shuai has been missing since she accused a Chinese politician of sexual assault
- Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka also expressed their concerns
Serena Williams on Thursday expressed shock over the disappearance of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai. The former Wimbledon champion has been missing since she accused a powerful Chinese politician of sexually assaulting her. Several tennis players, including current World No 1 Novak Djokovic, expressed their concerns about Shuai's case.
"I am 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." Serena Williams tweeted. She posted a picture of Peng Shuai along with the tweet with #WhereIsPengShuai.
"Sending love to her and her family during this incredibly difficult time," Williams added.
Peng is a former Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion. Earlier this month, on social media site Weibo, had said that former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli had "forced" her into sex during a long-term on-off relationship.
Chinese officials have said nothing publicly since the accusation. This was the first #MeToo case to reach the political realm in China has not been reported by the domestic media and online discussion of it has been highly censored.
Steve Simon, the chairman and CEO of the Women's Tennis Association, questioned the authenticity of what Chinese state media said was an email intended for him in which Peng says she is safe and that the assault allegation is untrue. It was posted Thursday by CGTN, the international arm of Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.
“I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her,” Simon wrote.
Japanese star and four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka on Wednesday said she was in shock about the case. American player Jessica Pegula tweeted Thursday that she hoped the WTA "continues to show what we stand for as players."
"I hope more people, not just tennis players, shed some light on this deeply concerning situation," she wrote.