Naomi Osaka has joined a growing list of high-profile tennis stars to have expressed concerns regarding the safety of fellow player Peng Shuai. The Chinese player has been facing censorship in her country following her allegations of sexual abuse against the country's former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.
Osaka, who also attached a photograph of Peng Shuai in her Twitter post, took a moment to condemn this censorship, saying it was not okay "at any cost".
"Hey everyone, not sure if you have been following the news, but I was recently informed of a fellow tennis player who has gone missing shortly after she revealed that she has been sexually abused. Censorship is never ok at any cost," Osaka wrote.
Osaka followed in the footsteps of Alize Cornet and Novak Djokovic, who had spoken on the issue earlier in the week.
The four-time Grand Slam champion took to social media to share her concerns regarding Peng Shuai's well-being. The Chinese player hasn't made any public statements since first coming out -- on the social media website Weibo -- with her allegations in the first week of November.
Osaka expressed her shock at discovering the news of her fellow player's ordeal. The 24 year old said that she was hoping that Peng Shuai and her family were "safe", adding the #WhereisPengShuai to her post.
"I hope that Peng Shuai and her family are safe and ok," Osaka wrote. "I'm in shock of the current situation and I'm sending love and light her way. #Where is Peng Shuai"
Peng Shuai's initial post on Weibo, where she shared extensive details of the abuse, was taken down immediately.
According to reports, users in China were banned from searching for the words "Peng Shuai" and "tennis" in the immediate fallout of Peng's post. The Chinese player has been facing blanket censorship in her home country since.
Support pours in for Peng Shuai, WTA & ATP take a strong stance
Social media has been flooded with messages of support for Peng Shuai, ever since the news of her initial post made it to the headlines.
French player and former world no. 11 Alize Cornet was one of the first to speak out as she took to social media asking for people to break their silence on the issue.
A plethora of top names from the tennis world -- including Djokovic, Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Nicholas Mahut -- have since spoken on the issue.
The governing bodies for both the women's and men's tours, the WTA and the ATP, have taken a strong stance on the issue, batting for a "full, fair and transparent" trial into the former doubles No. 1 player's allegations.
In his latest statement, Steve Simon, chairman and CEO of the WTA, revealed that he had received assurances from multiple sources, including the Chinese Tennis Federation, that Peng was "not under any physical threat" and was currently in Beijing.
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