China Censors Peng Shuai For Accusing Former Top Political Figure Of Sexual Assault - UBITENNIS
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China Censors Peng Shuai For Accusing Former Top Political Figure Of Sexual Assault

One of China’s most successful tennis players in history has made a series of shocking claims. Now users can’t comment on her Weibo account and screenshots of her post have been wiped from the internet by authorities.



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Former world No.1 doubles player Peng Shuai has stunned her home country by claiming that she was assaulted by a former top communist leader in a social media post which has since been deleted.

35-year-old Shuai says was ‘forced’ her into having sex with former Chinese vice Premier Zhang Gaoli. The BBC reports that it is the first time such serious allegations have been made against a Chinese senior political figure. In a detailed post on social media site Weibo, the multiple Grand Slam winner said Gaolio first pressure her into having sex with him after she attended his house to play tennis.

“That afternoon I didn’t give my consent and couldn’t stop crying,” she wrote. “You brought me to your house and forced me and you to have relations”.

Shuai’s open letter to Gaoli claims she had a relationship over an intermittent period spanning 10 years which began after the assult. Although she admits to having no evidence to prove the claims that she has made. Meanwhile, Gaoli has not publicly responded to the allegations that have been made against him.

Why did you have to come back to me, took me to your home to force me to have sex with you? Yes, I did not have any evidence, and it was simply impossible to have evidence,” she wrote.
“I couldn’t describe how disgusted I was, and how many times I asked myself am I still a human? I feel like a walking corpse. Every day I was acting, which person is the real me?”

Shortly after Shuai posted her open letter online, authorities moved swiftly to remove it and any other posts associated with it on the internet. According to CNN, it was taken down after just 30 minutes of publication and groups which have been sharing screenshots of the post have also been censored. Furthermore, her Weibo account has been blocked from searches and users are currently unable to comment on her posts. It was also reported at the time searches for Shuai’s name and even the word ‘tennis’ was blocked for a brief period.

China has one of the strictest policies in the world regarding internet censorship. Known as the ‘great firewall’ the country uses laws and technologies to enforce censorship. Social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter are blocked. Furthermore, content which is deemed politically sensitive or inappropriate is removed from the internet.

Due to the strict regulation, it will be hard to verify such claims made by Shaui. Although the Japanese news agency Kyodo quoted an unnamed Chinese journalist as saying that the allegations ‘look reliable.’

Meanwhile, Bloomberg has reported that a Chinese official was questioned about the Shuai during a regular press conference in Beijing on Wednesday. Wang Wenbin, who is a foreign ministry spokesman, said “I haven’t heard of it and it isn’t a diplomatic question.” This is the only comment that has been made by a government official on the matter so far.

Shuai was the first Chinese player in history, male or female, to reach world No.1 in the doubles back in 2014. During her career, she has won 25 WTA titles, but only two of those occurred in singles. She last played on the Tour at the Doha Open back in February.

Since her Weibo post, Shuai has not spoken in public.

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Maria Sakkari Appoints Witt As Coach For American Swing



Maria Sakkari - WTA Washington 2023 (foto Twitter @mubadalacitidc)

Maria Sakkari has enlisted the help of Jessica Pegula’s former long-time coach in a bid to regain her form on the Tour. 

Greek media has confirmed that the world No.9 has begun a partnership with David Witt, who has also previously coached Venus Williams. Witt had worked with Pegula since 2019 before the tennis star decided to end their collaboration earlier this year. During their time together he oversaw the American win two WTA 1000 events, reached the quarter-final of a grand Slam on six occasions and peaked at a ranking high of No.3. 

Sakkari’s appointment comes after she ended her six-year working relationship with Tom Hill. Highlights of their partnership include winning two Tour titles, reaching a Grand Slam semi-final twice and spending more than two years in the top 10. 

“Tom, thank you for all the emotions, the support on and off the court, and the belief you had in me since day one,” Sakkari wrote on Instagram last month. “We grew together, and you helped me realize that everything is possible.

“Not only did you make me a better tennis player, but you also made me a better person. Thank you for always wanting the best for me and for always having my back! Good luck on the next chapter in your career.”

Sakkari is looking to get back on track after what has been a disappointing start to 2024. She had won just two matches in her first four singles tournaments played and is yet to face an opponent ranked in the world’s top 20. However, she faired better at the United Cup, where she won three matches in the team event, including victories over Lelylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber. 

It is understood that Sakkari will be working with Witt at both Indian Wells and Miami. If their partnership is successful, it could be extended further into the clay swing. The other members of her team will remain in the same roles. 

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai



Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro



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One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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