Rafael Nadal joined a long list of players to show concern for Peng Shuai after the Chinese went missing after accusing former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault.
In a conversation with L'Equipe, Nadal said he has been keeping himself informed about Peng Shuai's situation. The Mallorcan revealed that he does not have "all the information" on the matter, but stressed the importance of Peng's safety.
"I am following the news and reading the articles about Peng Shuai. Even though I don't have all the information, the most important thing in this case is to know she is okay," Rafael Nadal said. "All of us in the tennis family hope to see her with us soon."
Earlier this month, Peng Shuai accused Zhang Gaoli of sexually assaulting her, revealing details of the incident on the social media site, Weibo. The post has since been deleted, and Peng's whereabouts are unknown.
In recent days, the Chinese state-run media house, Global Times, has posted a few photographs and videos showing Peng Shuai safe and happy. However, there is plenty of doubt over the authenticity of the evidence.
Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the Global Times, recently posted a couple of videos on Twitter in which Peng is seen enjoying a meal with her coach and friends. However, many people on Twitter feel the video is either staged or from an earlier date.
Rafael Nadal joins Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, and Naomi Osaka in expressing concern for Peng Shuai
Ever since Peng Shuai apparently disappeared, several tennis players have voiced their concern for the Chinese. Naomi Osaka took to Twitter to express her disapproval of the Chinese government censoring Peng Shuai.
"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.
Serena Williams, too, gave her thoughts on the matter, saying she was "devastated." The American also called for an investigation into the incident.
"I am devastated and shocked to hear about the news of my peer, Peng Shuai," Serena wrote on Twitter. "I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible."
"This must be investigated and we must not stay silent," the American added. "Sending love to her and her family during this incredibly difficult time. #whereispengshuai"
Rafael Nadal's fellow 20-time Major champion, Novak Djokovic, has spoken about Peng Shuai's disappearance on numerous occasions. Most recently, Djokovic stressed that he supported the WTA's threat to pull all Chinese tournaments off next year's calendar unless their government or Peng Shuai herself provided verifiable proof regarding her whereabouts.
"China is a huge country. It's a very important part of the world especially for WTA. They have many tournaments there," Novak Djokovic said. "I mean, this is necessary for us to take whatever actions. I heard just now from Reem (Reem Abuleil: Tennis Journalist) that WTA is willing to pull out from China with all the tournaments unless this is resolved. I support it 100%."
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