IOC Chief Claims Peng Shuai Is Safe Due To Her ‘Relaxed Impression’ During Video Call - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Latest news

IOC Chief Claims Peng Shuai Is Safe Due To Her ‘Relaxed Impression’ During Video Call

In his first public statement since his video call with the tennis player, Thomas Bach failed to speak about the allegations of sexual assault.

Avatar

Published

on

The head of the International Olympic Committee has claimed a 30-minute conversation with Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai over the weekend has enabled him to conclude that she is ‘safe and well.’

 

Thomas Bach was the first senior international figure to speak with the former world No.1 doubles player after a post appeared on her Weibo accusing a former government official of sexual assault. On November 2nd a 1500-word statement believed to be uploaded by Shuai accused China’s former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli of pressuring her into sex and that the two had an affair over a 10-year period. The post was removed less than an hour after it was published and restrictions have been placed on Shuai’s Weibo account ever since. She then vanished from the public eye shortly afterwards before state-run media posted a series of photos and videos claiming she is safe.

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has voiced their concerns that Shuai is being censored by authorities in her country and hasn’t been allowed to speak freely. Steve Simon, who is the CEO of the governing body, has called for an investigation to be made into the allegations. He has also threatened to cancel tournaments in China should they not receive guarantees about Shuai’s welfare.

However, the IOC has taken a more lenient approach to the matter. Over the weekend they issued a press release confirming that they had a 30-minute conversation with the two-time Grand Slam doubles champion. Also in attendance was IOC Athletes’ Commission, Emma Terho, and IOC Member in China Li Lingwei. Lingwei is a former secretary of China’s communist party.

“You know the whole world was concerned and about her safety and well-being including the IOC. This is why we took various contacts from the moment this issue came up. She assured us she is well and safe but wants her privacy respected for obvious reasons and we offered her support and further conversations,” Back said during an online interview with the AIPS Young Reporters group.

The IOC has been accused by the Human Rights Watch of sportswashing which is the practice of using sport to improve its image. In a statement the organisation urged them to not promote Chinese propaganda. The WTA has also said that they still have their concerns over Shuai’s safety. The IOC statement failed to address the allegations of sexual assault, how they managed to set up their video call in the first place and why some governing bodies such as the WTA have been unable to contact Shuai.

Nevertheless, Bach says Shuai’s ‘relaxed impression’ during their call is proof that everything is well. A somewhat dubious claim from a person who is a fully qualified lawyer in his native Germany.

“We also offered a meeting when we come in January and this video call and this 30-minutes’ conversation gave a relaxed impression we can all conclude that she is safe and well,” Bach claims. ”But we will keep in contact and this is why we proposed to have a meeting there in January when we come to Beijing. She was telling us that she was with her family and friends and wants to be involved in her beloved sport of tennis.’
“I know, from all the reactions we have got, that what the world wanted to know is that she safe and well and this was the appearance in this video live conference.”

Bach’s claim that all is well with Shuai has failed to ease the concerns with some branding the IOC’s call as a disaster. The timing of the situation comes just months before the 2022 Winter Olympic Games which will be held in Beijing. It should also be noted that Gaoli, who has not been seen in public since the allegations, was a key figure in the organisation of the Games prior to his retirement.

News of Shuai’s Weibo post have been censored in China with no leading news outlet reporting on the developments. The country’s media is under government control. Even an article which was published by the public broadcaster of Hong Kong was later deleted due to what some suspect might be Chinese influence.

ATP

Playing Clay Events After Wimbledon Was A Mistake, Says Diego Schwartzman

The former French Open semi-finalist is seeking to win his first title since March 2021 at the Tel Aviv Open this week.

Avatar

Published

on

Diego Schwartzman (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Diego Schwartzman will likely reevaluate his schedule for next year after admitting that part of his plans for this summer backfired. 

 

The world No.17 enters into the final quarter of the season with 31 wins against 22 losses on the Tour but is yet to win a title. Although he did reach back-to-back finals back in February in Argentina and Brazil. He has won two out of eight matches against top 10 opposition, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Barcelona. 

Reflecting on his performance, Schwartzman admits that his decision to return to European clay after playing at Wimbledon was a mistake. He lost his second match in Gstaad to Pablo Carreno Busta and then his first in Hamburg to Emil Ruusuvori. 

“It’s difficult to play at the same level every tournament, I’ve made a bad decision playing clay tournaments after Wimbledon, I didn’t have time to rest,” he said during his pre-tournament press conference at the Tel Aviv Open. “I paid the price and had some bad losses. But I started to feel much better in USA hard court season, lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the final in Cincinnati and to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open. Now I am feeling very good, I really love playing indoor tournaments.”

The 30-year-old has headed straight to Tel Aviv from the Laver Cup where Roger Federer played the last match of his career. Despite Schwartzman’s Team World winning the title for the first time, his only contribution to the tie saw him lose 6-1, 6-2, to Tsitsipas. 

Retirement was very much the topic of conversation during the Laver Cup with others such as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic questioned by reporters about their plans in the sport. As for Schwartzman, he stayed coy about how much longer he would continue playing after saying in the past he might stop at the age of 33. 

“33 — is a good age to retire, isn’t it? South Americans are in different situations compared to European players. We travel too much, and sometimes we are not coming back home for 2-3 months, while Europeans can fly home every week. It’s tough,” he said. 
“As for Roger — he’s a special player, I think he is just the greatest in our sport.”

The Argentine is seeded third this week in Israel and will begin his campaign against Arthur Rinderknech who defeated qualifier Marius Copil in his opening match. 

Continue Reading

Latest news

Botic Van de Zandschulp beats Joao Sousa to reach the second round in Tel Aviv

Avatar

Published

on

Botic Van de Zandschulp cruised past Joao Sousa 6-2 6-3 to reach the second round at the Tel Aviv Watergen Open. Van de Zandschulp won 83% of his first serve points and hit 28 winners to Sousa’s six. 

 

The Dutchman will face Liam Broady, who Serbian wild-card Hamad Medjedovic 7-5 6-3. 

Tomas Martin Etchevery edged past 2021 Australian Open semifinalist Aslan Karatsev 6-2 6-7 (0-7) 6-4  scoring the biggest win of his career. 

Arthur Rinderknech came back from one set down to beat Romanian qualifier Marius Copil 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-3. Rinderknech set up a second round against third seed Diego Schwartzman. 

Emil Ruusuvuori broke serve five times in his 6-3 6-2 win over J.J Wolf. 

Sebastian Korda beat Turkish qualifier Cem Ilkel 6-4 6-4 setting up a second round match against Maxime Cressy. Novak Djokovic is the top seed of the Tel Aviv tournament, which returns for the first time since 2021.

Continue Reading

Latest news

Holger Rune reaches the second round at the Sofia Open

Avatar

Published

on

Danish Next Gen rising star Holger Rune edged past Tim Van Rijthoven 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (8-6) to reach the second round at the Sofia Open in his first appearance at this tournament. 

 

Both players went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Rune earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2. 

The second set started with a trade of breaks in the first two games. There was little to separate both players in the next games, which went on serve en route to the tie-break. Rune saved a set point at 5-6 in the tie-break of the second set and won the final three points to close out the second set 8-6. 

Rune won his first title in Munich and reached his maiden Grand Slam quarter final at Roland Garros. 

 “I did not want to go to three sets. I had the break and led 5-2 in the second set tie-break. If it had happened, I was going to fight for sure and try to take it in three, but I am very happy to win in two. I am really working hard every day and trying to improve any small things I can. I think today I stayed very focused all the time. I lost my focus one time on serve, when maybe I should not have been broken, but other than that I am very happy with my first match. The first match is always a  bit difficult”, said Rune. 

Australia’s Alexander Vukic beat Fabio Fognini 7-6 (13-11) 7-5 after 1 hour and 11 minutes. Vukic broke serve in the fifth game to take a 4-2 lead. Fognini converted his fourth break-back point to draw level to 4-4 before saving a break point at 5-5. Fognini went up a 6-3 lead, but he wasted six set points in the tie-break. Vukic closed out the tie-break 13-11 on his third set point. 

Fognini earned a break to take a 2-1 lead. Vukic broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2 in the fourth game. Fognini lost four consecutive points from 4-5 30-0. Vukic earned the decisive break on his first match point to seal the second set 7-5. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending