Serena Williams has spoken out in concern over the apparent disappearance of fellow tennis player Peng Shuai.
At the beginning of November, Peng accused Zhang Gaoli, a former Chinese Communist party vice-premier of sexually assaulting her, stating Zhang had forced her to have sex with him three years ago.
Her Weibo social media account has since been disabled, and the 35-year-old player has not been heard of since. That has led to concern around the world, including professional tennis players, about her safety and whereabouts.
‘More history!’ – Jabeur, Djokovic, Norrie and Maria make semi-finals at Wimbledon
On Monday, men’s tennis number one, Serbian player Novak Djokovic, said at the ATP Finals that he was ‘shocked’ that Peng had gone missing.
Chris Evert, Alize Cornet, Nicholas Mahut and others have all expressed their concern. And the WTA head Steven Simon said there should be a ‘full, fair and transparent’ investigation into the allegations, and that those in charge should ‘end censorship’ of the player.
Former women’s tennis number one and 23-time Grand Slam winner Williams has now made her own statement. Writing on her Twitter account, she wrote:
“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.
“Sending love to her and her family during this incredibly difficult time. #whereispengshuai”
'Don't look at him' - Wilander advises how to counter Kyrgios 'chaos'
'She has a complete game, it is incredible' - Wilander on Maria reaching semi-finals