Australian tennis great Sam Stosur says players around the globe want to be certain that China’s Peng Shuai is safe, as the WTA continues to fight for clarity on the situation.
But Stosur, who’s faced Shuai many times on the tour, conceded it’s a “terrible story”.
Stosur’s comments follow those of WTA boss Steve Simon several days ago, who said he remained “deeply concerned” about the whereabouts of Shuai and her ability to “communicate freely, openly and directly”.
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Peng disappeared from the public’s view on November 2 after alleging on social media that former Chinese vice-premier Zhang Gaoli had sexually assaulted her.
Her disappearance, coupled with the attempts of Chinese state media to prove she is safe through the release of contentious photos and videos, have made it clear that the government is silencing her to protect the institution.
“It’s a terrible story, what is unfolding with Peng Shuai,” Stosur said.
“We played many, many times on tour. All the players know who she was as she has won grand slams and been No.1 in the world in doubles.
“From the players’ point of view and the tour, we just want her to be safe, and hopefully everything is OK.
“But things are unfolding and we just have to wait and see how that plays out.
“We are all thinking of her and hoping that everything will be OK.”
Stosur addressed the media in Melbourne today as Tennis Australia revealed a 37 per cent increase in adults and 29 per cent increase in children playing the sport to June 30 this year.
The former world No.1 and 2011 US Open champion is preparing for what looms as her final Australian Open, at Melbourne Park in January.
“Chances are it probably will be the last time,” Stosur said.
“I’ve just done my first day back training today.
“I’m seeing how things go.
New video of missing tennis star Peng Shuai emerges
“I had a little run around in preparation and lead-up to a big summer hopefully.
“My knees are a bit sore, but I actually hit pretty well considering I’ve had two weeks off.
“I always love getting back on court. Pre-seasons can be a bit brutal, but I’ve done enough of them now that it doesn’t take too long to get back into it.”
Stosur is aiming to compete in the singles and doubles at the Australian Open.
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