Tennis star Peng Shuai has reportedly emailed the head of the Women’s Tennis Association, Steve Simon, asking not to be “bothered” as concerns about her disappearance grow
The head of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) allegedly ignored emails from Peng Shuai saying she “hopes to live quietly,” according to a man who claimed to know the Chinese tennis star.
Ding Li, a man who claims to be an employee of the 35-year-old tennis player, said WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon ignored an email from her asking him not to “bother” to become.
International concern over the disappearance of the French Open and Wimbledon double-winner, who has gone missing since she accused China’s former vice-premier of forcing her to have sex, has grown.
The WTA has cited calls for evidence that she is safe and after a full investigation into the sexual assault allegations it made in a 1,600-word post on Nov. 2nd. The allegations, which were posted on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, were withdrawn shortly after their publication.
Mr. Ding, whose relationship with the tennis player is not clear, tweeted a screenshot of the email Ms. Peng sent to the WTA boss with a caption accusing Mr. Simon of “turning a blind eye” on her message to have.
In an email interview with the BBC, he said that Ms. Peng’s email to Mr. Simon is, “Right now I don’t want to be disturbed, and most importantly” [can you] not spice up my personal affairs. I hope to live calmly. Thank you again for your concern. “
Mr. Ding said the email was “avoided” but also accused Simon of relaying Ms. Peng’s contact to more than 10 media outlets and tennis players, which resulted in her being “disturbed.”
Mr. Ding said the tennis star was in Beijing and had “freedom of movement.” Following popular claims that China’s top tennis player’s recent performances were staged, he said there was “absolutely no supervision or pressure and there was definitely no punishment.” But when asked to communicate directly with Ms. Peng, he said she just wanted to rest at home alone.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry recently commented on the case, saying it was being “politicized” as concerns about the star’s disappearance were branded as “malicious hype”.
At a briefing on Tuesday, it pointed to Ms. Peng’s appearance on Sunday in a 30-minute video conference with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as evidence that she is fine.
A picture of their participation in the call was posted on Twitter by the IOC, but the video conference itself was never made public.
Pictures from last Friday of Ms. Peng smiling with a framed picture of Winnie the Pooh in the background also raise other questions about her wellbeing.
Ms. Peng accused Zhang Gaoli, former vice president of the Chinese Communist Party, of forcing her to have sex with him in his home after the two of them played tennis.
It is the first time that such a public claim has been made against one of China’s leading political leaders.
Neither the Chinese government nor Mr. Zhang commented on the allegations, but Ms. Peng’s post on the Weibo social media site was quickly removed by the authorities and the topic was banned from online discussion.
I has turned to the WTA for an opinion.