Four-time grand slam winner Naomi Osaka said she was concerned about the whereabouts of another tennis player, Peng Shuai, who had not been heard after allegations of sexual harassment by the former Chinese prime minister.
Peng, one of China’s biggest sports stars, said on social media earlier this month that Zhang Gaoli, a former member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese Politburo, forced him into sex and that they later had an on-off consensus.
The world tennis community has been alarmed that Peng has not been seen since the post, and on Monday, the men’s tennis governing body (ATP) supported the Women’s Tennis Association’s (WTA) call on China to investigate the allegations.
“I recently learned of a tennis player who has disappeared shortly after he revealed he was sexually abused,” said Osaka of Japan. “Censorship is never okay at all costs, I hope Peng Shuai and his family are safe and fit.
“I am shocked by the current situation and I am sending him love and light. #whereispengshuai. “
WTA chief Simon said New York times on Sunday that no one on the tour had spoken directly to Peng, but that he had received assurances from the Chinese Tennis Association that he was safe “and not under any physical threat.”
The China Government Information Office and the Chinese Tennis Association did not respond immediately to requests for comments when the WTA issued its statement.
35-year-old Peng was the first Chinese player to rise to the top of the world list when he was number one in doubles in 2014. He won the doubles championship at Wimbledon in 2013 and the French Open in 2014.
Zhang, now 75, was Deputy Prime Minister from 2013 to 2018 and served on the Politburo Standing Committee from 2012 to 2017.