Earlier this week, the sporting world was shocked to learn that Peng Shuai, a top-ranked Chinese tennis player, is missing.
Peng, 35, has reportedly not been seen in public since she accused retired vice premier Zhang Gaoli of pressuring her into a sexual relationship after a meeting at his home. In a since-deleted post on social media outlet Weibo on Nov. 2, she alleged that after that night, Zhang coerced her into a secretive affair.
The news has spread across the sporting world as tennis legends like Billie Jean King and Chris Evertt weighed in. On Thursday afternoon, star tennis player Serena Williams took to social media with a message for Shuai.
“I am devastated and shocked to hear about the news of my peer, Peng Shuai,” Williams said on Twitter. “I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible. This must be investigated and we must not stay silent. Sending love to her and her family during this incredibly difficult time.”
I am devastated and shocked to hear about the news of my peer, Peng Shuai. I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible. This must be investigated and we must not stay silent. Sending love to her and her family during this incredibly difficult time. #whereispengshuai pic.twitter.com/GZG3zLTSC6
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) November 18, 2021
Earlier this week, Chinese government spokesperson responded to a question about the tennis player at a press conference, but didn’t have much to offer. “I have not heard of the issue you raised,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters, per AFP.
Peng Shuai’s whereabouts are still unknown as of Thursday afternoon. Hopefully public pressure from those such as Serena Williams leads to a positive resolution and Shuai is found safely.