China man claiming to know Peng Shuai says WTA head ignored her mail

By Rek Hanibal Published on November 26, 2021
China man claiming to know Peng Shuai says WTA head ignored her mail

Ding Li tweeted a screenshot of mail he claims she wrote to WTA chief Steve Simon asking not to be "disturbed."Peng disappeared from public view after accusing former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexually assaulting her.

The WTA has led a chorus of voices demanding proof of her safety. Steve Simon has threatened to pull the WTA's business out of China, which would have a significant effect. There are 10 WTA events scheduled in the country, including the Wuhan Open and WTA finals in Shenzhen.

Next year the Wuhan Open will be the first time tennis players have returned to the city since the pandemic. The UN and US have also demanded information on her whereabouts and several significant tennis players, including Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic.

China has reacted angrily to the attention, mainly after a sceptical reaction to a series of photographs and videos that appeared to show all was well with Peng. The WTA said the recent videos "don't alleviate or address the WTA's concern about her wellbeing and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion".

Days ago, it issued a statement saying, "people should stop deliberately and maliciously hyping [the issue] up, let alone politicize this issue."Mr Ding's tweet appeared to echo much of China's most recent messaging.

The mail he claims was from Peng reads: "At the moment I do not want to be disturbed, and especially [can you] not hype up my personal affairs. I hope to live quietly. Thank you again for your concern".Mr Ding has also previously tweeted photos of himself and Peng at a Fila tournament on Twitter.

Little is known about him. He is reportedly a senior executive of a company that organizes sports events and manages athletes, and his relationship with the tennis star is also not clear. Peng, 35, is one of China's top tennis players. In a 1,600-word post on Chinese social media platform Weibo earlier this month, she said former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli - who is 75 - had "forced" her to have sexual relations with him.

Rek Hanibal

Rek Hanibal

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