Peng Shuai - The Chinese Tennis Star In Eye Of Storm After #MeToo Claims
Faizan Hashmi Published December 02, 2021 | 08:10 AM
Beijing, Dec 2 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 2nd Dec, 2021 ) :Concerns over the safety of Peng Shuai have prompted the Women's Tennis Association to suspend all tournaments in China, after she made sexual assault allegations against a former top politician in Beijing.
The Chinese tennis star alleged on November 2 on the Twitter-like Weibo that she had been "forced" into sex by former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli, with whom she said that she had a long-term on-off relationship. The post was swiftly deleted and Peng was not seen publicly for nearly three weeks.
Concerns about her wellbeing have persisted, however, and the WTA's Steve Simon said Wednesday he could not "in good conscience" hold events in China.
So who is Peng Shuai? - Doubles number one - Peng is one of China's biggest sports stars, winning the women's doubles at Wimbledon in 2013 alongside Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei for her first Grand Slam title.
A second followed at the French Open in 2014 -- again with her long-time friend Hsieh -- and Peng spent 20 weeks that year ranked number one in doubles.
Peng is currently ranked 191st in the world in doubles and has not been seen on the WTA Tour since the Qatar Open in February 2020, just before the coronavirus pandemic shut down global tennis for almost five months.
- Six-month ban - Peng was in August 2018 banned from tennis for six months and fined $10,000 for attempting to force Hsieh to withdraw as her doubles partner for Wimbledon 2017 after the sign-in deadline.
"Although the offer was refused and Peng Shuai did not subsequently compete at The Championships, it constituted a breach of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program," the Tennis Integrity Unit said, accusing Peng of using "coercion" and "the possibility of financial reward" to Hsieh to withdraw.
- Heart defect - Peng was born in January 1986 in Xiangtan, in the central province of Hunan, to a father who was a policeman. The city also happens to be the hometown of the founder of communist China, Mao Zedong.
Peng's fledgling career was nearly cut short when doctors said she would need an operation to treat a heart defect at 12.