Peng Shuai US Open 2014

Steve Simon claims emails with Peng Shuai have been “100% orchestrated”

WTA CEO and Chairman Steve Simon has been in contact with Peng Shuai via email, but believes these emails are “100% orchestrated” and this was to be “fully expected.”

After Peng Shuai accused former Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into a sexual relationship, Simon is focused on ensuring her full freedom.

Only International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach has had direct video communication with Peng, but both the IOC’s video call and their general approach of “quiet diplomacy” has been heavily criticised.

Most recently, human rights activist Peter Dahlin claimed “the IOC are directly putting Peng at greater risk.”

Ultimately, the WTA withdrew all events from China, including the prestigious WTA Finals, as a result of their refusal to cooperate with the WTA’s requests.

Simon told American news network CNN that he feels his email correspondence with Peng has been “100% orchestrated” as concerns rise over her freedom, saying “I would characterise [the emails] as orchestrated at this point in time.

“When you come out with the allegations that Peng did early in November, they were significant and they were detailed.

“And now to be receiving the emails and the correspondence from her that certainly are very – they’re just 100% orchestrated, and I do not think that they reflect what the allegations did and the true position.

When asked about whether he had any other way of knowing if Peng was under duress, Simon said “we don’t have a lot of contact coming out of the region (China).

“The contact that we’ve had has basically been consistent. She’s in Beijing, She’s fine, she’s under no physical stress, etc. Which is what we’ve seen in the videos and the pictures that we’ve seen.

“We just feel very strongly that this (contact) has certainly been orchestrated, consistent with those that are very familiar with the region as to how these things (sexual assault allegations) are handled over there. It is fully expected.

“We have two principle points right now. We definitely want to confirm Peng is available to speak without censorship, any pressures or any restrictions in any way and we do want a full and transparent investigation into these very serious allegations.”

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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.