Written by By Staff Writer
The Women’s Tennis Association says it’s “deeply concerned” about recent media reports about China’s number one female tennis player, Peng Shuai.
“These reports are very concerning,” read the statement from the WTA, which accused a journalist of using the news release about Yu Yang’s election to the WTA Hall of Fame to get “points” from the WTA.
“The WTA Chairman and CEO, Steve Simon, has made it clear that the WTA remains deeply concerned about threats to its players’ safety, and is concerned about the recent reported beating of a WTA Tour player and asked for the local police department’s assistance in investigating,” added the statement.
The WTA said it would make no further comment.
‘A match for power and ego’
Peng Shuai, of China, holds the trophy after winning the Tianjin Open. China Photos/Getty Images
Peng Shuai was forced to pull out of the China Open in Beijing last week due to health issues and dropped out of the WTA Finals in Singapore last month after an altercation with a coach.
The news release about Yu Yang’s election to the WTA Hall of Fame came a day before the 29-year-old Peng was playing in the China Open.
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In August, Peng was tested for performance-enhancing drugs in an investigation by the WTA. The organization did not identify the substance, citing “privacy and security reasons,” but said the test results came back negative.
“We are delighted to have Yu Yang accept the WTA’s invitation to enter the WTA Hall of Fame. Congratulations on joining the one hundred WTA Legends of Women’s Tennis,” said Simon in a statement on the tournament’s website.
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Peng was voted the top ranked woman tennis player at last year’s tournament, winning the Tianjin Open, her final tour event in China. The top player in the Chinese rankings at the time, she had taken an injury break from the court.
Peng is now ranked 29th in the world, according to the WTA, but the injuries have returned.
In May 2017, Shuai’s best friend Zhang Shuai posted on social media that she had been punched in the stomach, arm and head by Peng.
Zhang was treated in hospital after the incident and Peng ended her friendship with her long-time friend.
Then there was January 2018, when beaten WTA finalist Erina Tan resigned from the Chinese Tennis Association to avoid an investigation into allegations of assault at a court in Shanghai.
She posted an apology on Facebook after the incident, admitting that she had beaten Tianxue Wang “lightly and slapped her” as she retaliated after a slip of the tongue. Wang later filed a complaint against Tan, claiming Tan slapped her in the face twice and once on the back of the head with a closed fist.