“My private life should not be involved in sports and politics” Peng Shuai blames WTA for ‘exaggerating things’


“My private life should not be involved in sports and politics” Peng Shuai blames WTA for ‘exaggerating things’

Peng Shuai and Steve Simon

2-time doubles Grand Slam champion Peng Shuai has come out and spoken with foreign media for the first time since she accused China’s Vice-Premier and senior politician Zhang Gaoli of having forced her into a sexual relationship and assaulted her as well. Peng made the allegations in early November 2021 via her social media handle on the Chinese platform ‘Weibo’.

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The post was however deleted in 30 minutes and the player was not seen or heard for three weeks. As concerns for her safety and questions on China started raising from the western media, an email was received by WTA claiming it to be from Peng that said her accusations were false and she is completely safe.

WTA however did not believe the email and continued their attempts to come in contact with the player themselves. The incident had a massive impact on China’s relations with other countries and the human rights issues for the building of the Olympic village for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics came to light and many countries like the USA, the UK, Canada announced a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Games.

“I would like to say first of all that feelings, sports and politics are three very distinct things. My sentimental problems, my private life, should not be involved in sports and politics. And sport must not be politicised because, when it is, most of the time that amounts to turning one’s back on the Olympic spirit, and it goes against the will of the world of sport and of the athletes,” said Peng in her latest interview with French media outlet L’Equipe.

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“It was very unsual for me”: Peng Shuai on WTA’s statements

Steve Simon and Peng Shuai
Steve Simon and Peng Shuai

While the WTA was giving regular updates of their efforts to communicate with Peng, the player ‘reportedly’ had a video call with International Olympic Committee‘s president Thomas Bach and the player explained why she chose to talk with Bach instead of Steve Simon, head of WTA who has suspended all tennis activities of the WTA Tour in China and Hong Kong.

“I didn’t choose anything. Like everyone, like you, I saw the statement on the official WTA website. It was very unusual for me, why would I need psychological assistance or that sort of thing? I didn’t know how I should figure it out. But if the WTA psychologists couldn’t reach me and thought that I had disappeared, I think that’s a bit exaggerated.

“So after reading this statement, I responded to WTA president Steve Simon myself. Several copies were sent, and these emails I wrote myself. This is my personal statement. The same evening, I also sent it by WeChat to my colleagues in the players’ department in order to personally confirm that I was the author of the messages sent from my work email,” added Peng whose life since November is, “It is as it should be – nothing special.”

Also Read: “Why such concern? I never disappeared” Peng Shuai comes out with SHOCKING admissions

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