The tennis world is rife with news about Peng Shuai’s disappearance. The 35 year-old Chinese player, who was former world no. 1 in doubles and won two grand slam titles, accused a top Chinese official of sexual harassment. She posted a detailed post on China’s social networking site Weibo. As is norm with China’s strict social media policy, the post was taken down within minutes, but not before it went viral in the western world. Shuai was not visible in public since the 2nd of November, which resulted in full-blown public support for her. The hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai began trending on Twitter.
Peng Shuai accused Zhang Gaoli, a former vice-premier and member of the Communist party’s Politburo Standing Committee of repeated sexual abuse dating back many years. The taking down down of her Weibo post only added fuel to fire, prompting many big names in tennis, including organizations like ATP and WTA questioning the Chinese authorities.
After the Chinese government set up a video call between Shuai and Thomas Bach, the president of IOC, the Olympic committee was criticised and condemned. The tennis community across the world has mobilized in their support for Shuai, doing their best to make the Chinese authorities answerable.
Renowned tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg has been catalytic in the pro-Shuai movement. As such, he was disappointed with world no. 1 Ash Barty not having issues a statement of support for her fellow player, and voiced his opinion on Twitter.
Ben Rothenberg questions Ash Barty’s silence on Twitter, gets slammed
On 20th November, Ben Rothenberg mentioned on Twitter that WTA no. 1 Ash Barty has remained silent over the matter of her fellow player’s disappearance. Regardless of his intentions, the statement didn’t sit well with fans of Barty, who proceeded to berate the journalist.