Peng Shuai Australian Open 2015

Garbine Muguruza concerned for Peng Shuai and fears her ‘real truth may never be known’

Garbine Muguruza has branded China “a complicated country to deal with” and is concerned Peng Shuai may never be able to “talk freely” or provide “her real truth.”

Two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza has joined Alize Cornet in voicing their continued concerns for the safety and freedom of former French Open and Wimbledon doubles champion Peng Shuai.

In November of last year, Peng accused former Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into a sexual relationship.

The allegations led to global concern when her original social media post was removed within 30 minutes and she was not seen or heard from publicly for three weeks.

As such, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) demanded “a full, fair and transparent investigation” and sought reassurances over her well-being and full autonomy.

After multiple failed attempts, the WTA took the decision to withdraw all events from China due to their failure and refusal to cooperate with their requests. One of the rescinded tournaments was the prestigious WTA Finals.

Whilst the International Olympics Committee (IOC) held a video interview with Peng, the WTA had been limited to email correspondence which WTA chief executive and chairman thought had been “100% orchestrated.”

Most recently, in an interview with a pro-Beijing news outlet Peng claimed “there had been a lot of misunderstanding” and went on to retract her allegations. However, this prompted further concern from the Western world.

In an Australian Open press conference, Muguruza said “are we going to know something about this? I don’t know, I think it’s (China) a complicated country to deal with. Also the way they communicate, culturally.

“It’s a little bit not moving forward, I feel. It’s just there since months and months.

“It seemed like for a moment, okay, we’re going to find out what’s happening.

“I think it’s going to be very difficult to find a real truth and for her to be able to talk freely. I don’t know what’s happening, [or] what’s the issue there?

“I feel like this is something that the WTA has done great. I think they’ve showed a lot of courage and character by supporting these and taking these strong decisions.

“I think it’s something that we should all [be like] ‘man, that was such a bold move’.”

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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.