Novak Djokovic “shocked” by Peng Shuai sexual assault allegation censorship

Novak Djokovic has said it is “shocking” that Peng Shuai has not been heard from since alleging a former senior Chinese government official of sexual assault.

Earlier this month, Chinese Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion Peng Shuai had reportedly gone missing after accusing former Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into a sexual relationship.

Peng originally made the accusations through Chinese social media website Weibo but her post was removed just 20 minutes after being published.

This led to concerns being raised over Peng’s well-being but WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon reassured that he had received confirmation that Peng was “safe and not under any physical threat.”

World number one Djokovic was asked about the incident after his ATP Finals win over Casper Ruud, to which Djokovic answered “I don’t have much information about it. I did hear about it a week ago.

“Honestly, it’s shocking that she’s missing, more so that it’s someone that I have seen on the tour in the previous years quite a few times.

“It’s not much more to say than I hope that she will be found, that she’s okay. It’s terrible, I can imagine just how her family feels that she’s missing.”

Similarly, former WTA CEO Stacey Allaster told Reuters that “our sport is focusing on the health and safety of Peng Shuai, business is secondary.

“How this all that unfolds it is very difficult to say at this point but decisions will have to be made.

“Steve Simon’s statement made it clear that they (the ATP) need to fully support Peng Shuai.

“This is a very important moment for the WTA’s business and history.”

On Sunday the WTA threatened to withdraw it’s tournaments from China if there was no cooperation for a thorough enquiry.

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi didn’t warn of a boycott but echoed the WTA’s concerns, saying “we stand in full support of WTA’s call for a full, fair and transparent investigation into allegations of sexual assault carried out against Peng Shuai.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.