Tennis, a largely solitary sport that’s become known for the often lonely grind to the top, recently found its players banding together for a reason no one saw coming: Taking on China. For the players, this is a good start – but many believe there’s more to be done.
Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, a 35-year-old who has been ranked as high as 14 in the world in singles and number one in doubles, disappeared after making allegations of sexual assault against former top Chinese official Zhang Gaoli on Nov 2. Her accusations were swiftly wiped from the web in China, and Peng ceased being seen or heard from publicly – until Chinese state media began publishing specific video footage as well as an email purportedly from the tennis star where she recanted her accusations and claimed to be fine.
The situation has garnered media attention across the globe, particularly after the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) publicly called out China and repeatedly expressed concerns about Peng’s safety and freedom. WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon even threatened to pull out of all tournaments in the country, a move that would certainly affect the association’s revenue.
The Daily Caller spoke with over half a dozen current WTA and ATP [Association of Tennis Professionals] players and coaches about Peng, the battle with China and what’s next. Some players spoke on condition of anonymity, often citing worry over China, where many have to travel to for tournaments throughout the year.