(Beijing) American Coco Gauff said Friday there were “still a lot of questions” about Peng Shuai’s situation, as international women’s tennis returns to Beijing this week for the first time since the player’s revelations Chinese.
Peng, a former world No.1 in doubles, disappeared from the public eye for weeks at the end of 2021 after accusing former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault.
She later reemerged and denied the allegations, but the episode prompted the WTA to pull its tournaments from China pending an independent investigation.
However, the governing body of world women’s tennis reversed course this year and is now hosting the China Open in Beijing, a WTA 1000 tournament.
Asked by AFP on Friday about Peng’s case, Gauff said the situation was “worrying when it happened” and that there remained “a lot of questions.”
“As far as my safety here is concerned, the hospitality I have received so far has been truly wonderful,” said the young American prodigy, crowned in September at the US Open, at a press conference. .
“I didn’t feel any insecurity… but obviously I wish (Peng) the best and hope she does well,” the 19-year-old added.
The China Open is taking place for the first time since 2019, after Beijing implemented a zero COVID-19 isolationist policy for years.
The boycott of the WTA was therefore considered largely symbolic, because this government policy deprived the country of most major international sporting events.
The organization said in April it would reinstate its tournaments in China, even though Peng’s situation had “shown no signs of change.”
“We concluded that we would never be able to fully achieve these goals, and it was our players and our tournaments that would ultimately pay an extraordinary price for their sacrifices,” the WTA explained.