The Australian Open organizers have defended the decision of security to remove Peng Shuai supporter wearing a tshirt.
After a supporter of Peng Shuai, a Chinese tennis player, was asked to take off a tshirt and banner supporting Tennis Australia at Melbourne Park by a spectator, Tennis Australia defended them.
Peng’s whereabouts became a matter of international concern following a nearly three-week public absence after she accused former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault in a social media message posted on Weibo in early November. China condemned the allegations. ‘politicisation of sports’On Thursday, the World Tennis Association suspended all tournaments in the nation as a consequence of the situation.
The WTA reportedly remain unconvinced by the former Wimbledon doubles champion’s public appearances since her seeming disappearance, and the topic has been blocked on China’s internet. Peng later denied that she made the accusation before her disappearance.
Tennis Australia spokesperson said that after the incident with the banner of a fan at the Australian Open, they would be investigating: “Under our ticket conditions of entry we don’t allow clothing, banners or signs that are commercial or political. Peng Shuai’s safety is our primary concern.
“We continue to work with the WTA and the global tennis community to seek more clarity on her situation.”
Australian Open players have expressed their support for Peng. Victoria Azarenka is a member of the WTA Players’ Council, and she expressed her concern with the fact that the story has seemed to run out of steam.
“There hasn’t been that much development in terms of contact with Peng Shuai even though from our side we will continue to make any and all efforts to make sure that she is safe, she feels comfortable,”The 32-year old said it.
“Hopefully we will get to hear from her personally at some point. I think that’s the goal, the main goal right now.
“As a women’s association, I am proud that we are supporting our players.”
After the WTA’s announcement to not play in China, the IOC have held a number of video calls with Peng. The damning stance by the WTA is a blow for China as Beijing is readying itself to host the Winter Olympics in February, and global rights groups are calling for a boycott against the country’s human rights record.