The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has threatened to pull all tournaments from China if missing star Peng Shuai is not found.
Peng has been unable to be contacted since taking to social media on November 2 to accuse a former Communist Party official of sexual assault against her.
On Thursday morning there was a troubling update when a statement was released from China, allegedly written by Peng and claiming she was merely “resting at home”.
Soon after that rather bizarre message was released, WTA chairman Steve Simon issued his own statement questioning it.
“The WTA and the rest of the world need independent and verifiable proof that she is safe. I have repeatedly tried to reach her via numerous forms of communication, to no avail,” Simon said in a statement.
“I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received.”
Now, Simon has issued an ultimatum to China in a desperate bid to ensure the safety of the two-time Grand Slam doubles champion.
He says the WTA will pull all tournaments from the country – of which there are 10 events scheduled next year – if Peng is not found.
“If at the end of the day we don’t see the appropriate results from this, we would be prepared to take that step and not operate our business in China, if that’s what it came to,” Simon said.
Multiple tennis superstars have publicly aired their concerns over Peng’s disappearance.
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