Chinese tennis player Zheng Qinwen has cautiously expressed concern for her missing compatriot Peng Shuai.
"I think she's doing pretty well in China and has a normal life, but to be honest, I don't know how she's doing, I'm more focused on myself," said the world number 25. in Stuttgart after her 6:4, 6:4 in the first round against the American Alycia Parks.
In November 2021, Peng Shuai accused a high-ranking Chinese politician of sexual abuse on the social network Weibo. The post was deleted soon after. Peng later denied making the allegations. State censorship had blocked any debate about it on the Chinese internet.
WTA: With boycott "not everything achieved"
"I've never talked to her in my life," said 20-year-old Zheng Qinwen when asked if she was in contact with Peng Shuai, explaining that she was just at the beginning of her career. Peng Shuai is 37 years old, she was once the world number one in doubles. "I'm trying to focus on my tennis," said Zheng Qinwen. She does not talk to other tennis professionals about the case. She spends a lot of time with her team.
Because of the Peng Shuai case, the WTA had canceled all tournaments in China, and there had been no tournaments in China since November 2021. Now the WTA Tour has changed course and will return to China in the fall. Zheng Qinwen said she was very happy that tournaments were taking place in China again.
According to Wimbledon semi-finalist Tatjana Maria, concerns about Peng Shuai should remain in focus despite the return of the WTA tour to China. "In any case, I think it's important that we talk about Peng Shuai and that everyone makes sure that she's doing well," said the Swabian tennis player (35) and added: "The option with China is good for us players, that we have more tournaments and options again. There haven't been many tournaments in the last few years."
The WTA admitted last week that it had not achieved all its goals with its boycott. So there was still no direct meeting between Peng Shuai and WTA officials. "We have not achieved everything we set out to do, but we have had contact with people who are close to Peng and we have been assured that she lives safely with her family in Beijing," the WTA statement said .