Naomi Osaka ‘Shock’ adds to growing calls about Peng Shuai’s fate. tennis news

Four-time Grand Slam Champion Naomi Osaka© AFP

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka said she was “surprised” by fellow tennis star Peng Shuai, who accused a powerful Chinese politician of sexually assaulting her. Osaka added her voice to the growing concern within tennis about Peng’s fate, with men’s number one Novak Djokovic and several other players saying in recent days that they were deeply concerned about him. Osaka, 24, wrote a brief statement on Twitter, where she has 1.1 million followers, along with #WhereIsPengShuai – a hashtag that has been widely used on social media.

“Censorship is not okay at any cost, I hope Peng Shuai and his family are safe and sound,” the Japanese former world number one wrote.

“I am shocked by the current situation and I am sending her love and light.”

Chinese authorities are under increasing pressure to clarify the condition of the 35-year-old Peng, a former Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion.

Peng earlier this month alleged on Twitter-like Weibo that former deputy prime minister Zhang Gaoli had “forced” her to have sex during a long-standing relationship.

It was the first time the #MeToo movement had attacked the top posts of China’s ruling Communist Party, but the post was swiftly taken down and nothing has been heard from Peng since.

The Women’s Tennis Association called for Peng’s claims to be “fully investigated, fair, transparent and without censorship” on Sunday.

WTA President Steve Simon told The New York Times that he has information that he is “safe and not in any physical danger”.

China has remained silent about Peng and its national tennis federation did not respond to AFP’s requests for comment.

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Details of Peng’s allegations have been removed from China’s heavily censored internet.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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