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#WhereIsPengShuai – sport stars join chorus of concern

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Concerns are growing for the safety and wellbeing of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, as the world wonders where she is

There are fresh fears over Peng’s wellbeing after an email supposedly written by her retracted allegations of sexual assault against a senior politician.

In the email, the 35-year-old star ­allegedly claims she is absolutely fine and is simply “resting at home” despite not being heard of or seen since November 2 when she used social media to accuse former Chinese vice-premier of sexual assault.

The head of the Women’s Tennis Association has issued a warning to China amid concerns for the welfare of Peng.

Serena Williams has joined a chorus of concern…. saying she is devastated and shocked and calls for an investigation because “we must not stay silent”

Other sports stars and fans are joining the search by tweeting under the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai

https://twitter.com/juliagoerges/status/1461419180461277190

When did Peng disappear?

The head of the world body for women’s tennis says he’s even more worried about the welfare of Chinese player Peng Shuai after China’s state media published an email it says is from her.

The 35-year-old tennis star has not been seen in public since she alleged on social media that former Chinese vice premier Zhang Gaoli coerced her into sex, and that they later had an on-off consensual relationship.

On Wednesday, Chinese state-affiliated media outlet CGTN released on Twitter what it said was an email Peng had sent to the chairman of the Women’s Tennis Association, Steve Simon.

In the email, Peng says the allegation of assault was untrue.

But Simon has been quick to cast doubt on its validity.

In a written statement, he said: “The statement released today by Chinese state media concerning Peng Shuai only raises my concerns as to her safety and whereabouts… I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her.”

The email which CGTN attributes to Peng says: “I’m not missing, nor am I unsafe. I’ve just been resting at home and everything is fine.”

China’s State Council Information Office and the Chinese Tennis Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Neither did a representative for Peng.

On Thursday (November 18), China’s Foreign Ministry was dismissive when asked about the email

“This is not a foreign affairs matter. And I am not aware of the relevant situation you mentioned.”

Peng was the first Chinese player to top the world rankings when she was doubles number one in 2014.

Zhang, who is 40 years her senior, was a vice premier between 2013 and 2018.

https://twitter.com/sweetbackhand/status/1461054358729199624

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Simona Halep suffers a panic attack and a loss at French Open

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Two-time grand slam champ is knocked out of the French Open when struck by a panic attack

The Romanian tennis star losses in three sets to 19-year-old Chinese player Qinwen Zheng.

Halep looked comfortable as she cruised through the first set and was up a break in the second.

But Zheng quickly recovered to win the second set and began to dictate the match in the third.

The 2018 French Open champion suddenly called the trainer and asked to have her pulse and blood pressure taken.

After receiving an all clear the 30-year-old continued with the match but looked very uneasy against the Chinese youngster.

She was struggling for breath and had to call for doctors a second time in the third set.

The 19-year-old went on to win the match 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 and advanced into the third round of the championship.

Halep left the court immediately with medical staff before returning to address the media.

She then admitted to having a panic attack during the match which she couldn’t control.

“I didn’t expect [that] because it was just a panic attack,” says Halep.

“I didn’t know how to handle it, because I don’t have it often.”

“I don’t really know why it happened, because I was leading the match. I was playing well. But it just happened. I couldn’t focus.”

Halep is the latest big name to roll out of Roland Garros, with American Danielle Collins also losing on Friday.

This comes as seven top-ten female seeds have now been knocked out of the tournament ahead of round-three.

Danaya Malenda contributed to this report.

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Andy Murray weighs in on the Wimbledon points dispute

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A Wimbledon champion says the tournament “will never feel like an exhibition”, after a decision to remove ranking points

The ATP and WTA recently stripped Wimbledon of ranking points in response to the All England Lawn and Tennis Club’s ban on Russian and Belarussian athletes.

There has been widespread outcry amongst players following the move, with many branding the competition an “exhibition”.

Prominent players including Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic have been critical of the decision.

But Andy Murray has taken to Twitter to defend the legitimacy of the tournament.

The 35-year-old says most people watching on centre court “wouldn’t know or care about how many ranking points a player gets for winning a 3rd round match”.

“But I guarantee they will remember who wins. Wimbledon will never be an exhibition and will never feel like an exhibition. The end.”

Andy Murray

Naomi Osaka, speaking on Monday after her loss in the opening round of the French Open, was critical of the decision.

“I feel like if I play Wimbledon without points, it’s more like an exhibition,” she says.

“Whenever I think something is like an exhibition, I just can’t go at it 100 per cent.”

“I didn’t even make my decision yet, but I’m leaning more towards not playing” she adds.

World Number one Novak Djokovic, who called the ban on Russian and Belarussian athletes “crazy”, says he’s “glad” there are consequences for the tournament.

But he remains concerned he will be unable to defend the points he received for winning the championship in 2021.

“On a personal, individual level, I have been very negatively affected by that,” he says.

“It’s hard, really… it’s kind of, I would say, lose-lose situation for everyone.”

Bryan Hoadley contributed to this report

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Chelsea FC $5.33bil bid approved

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A takeover bid for Chelsea football club has been approved by the Premier League

46-year-old American Todd Boehly’s $5.33 U.S. billion dollar deal is given the go-ahead. 

The L.A. Dodgers co-owner heads a multi-billion dollar consortium.

The club came up for grabs when the former owner and Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich was sanctioned amid the war in Ukraine. 

A takeover has been hanging in the balance but now Premier League bosses have given their approval to Boehly passing the required owners and directors tests with flying colours. 

However, it’s not signed, sealed and delivered yet the purchase remains subject to U.K. Government approval. 

Regardless, a takeover must go through by May 31 for Chelsea to compete in next season’s Champions League.

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