After a successful opening match at the 2021 ATP Finals, Novak Djokovic weighed in on the Peng Shuai situation in his post-match interview. Djokovic showed support for the former doubles World No. 1, while also expressing disbelief over the fact that her whereabouts are currently unknown.
It has been well over a week since Peng Shuai took to social media platform Weibo, accusing former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual abuse. Peng's story was deleted within minutes of being posted on the platform, the reasons for which are still unknown.
Many believe Peng was in imminent danger after speaking up, especially since the alleged incident involved a member of the current ruling party in China. To make matters more disturbing, Peng hasn't been seen or heard from since she put up the post.
Chinese authorities have made concerted attempts to completely censor Peng's accusations on social media. But several tennis players and fans are now cooking up a storm in support of the former doubles Grand Slam winner, using the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai.
Against that background, Novak Djokovic emphasized that Peng Shuai's situation was "shocking". The Serb pointed out that the matter was particularly disconcerting since he'd seen Peng on tour "quite a few times" in the past.
"I don't have much information about it, I did hear about it a week ago, and honestly it's shocking that she's missing," Djokovic said. "More so that it's someone that I've seen on the tour in previous years quite a few times."
Novak Djokovic further highlighted what a tough time Peng Shuai's family would have been going through, before expressing hope that she is "okay".
"There's not much more to say than to hope that she's okay and it's just terrible," Djokovic added. "I can imagine how her family feels, you know, that she's missing."
Peng Shuai is "safe" according to information received from WTA's sources
On Sunday, WTA's chairman & CEO Steve Simon issued a statement seeking an investigation into the allegations made by Peng Shuai. Just 24 hours after that, the ATP put out a similar statement, highlighting their support for the Chinese player.
According to a report by The New York Times, there is finally some information available about Peng Shuai's well-being. Steve Simon has claimed that he received assurances from multiple sources, including the Chinese Tennis Federation, about Peng's safety and presence in Beijing.
"We've received confirmation from several sources, including the Chinese Tennis Association, that she is safe and not under any physical threat," Simon said. "My understanding is that she is in Beijing in China, but I can't confirm that because I haven’t spoken directly with her."
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