World number three Garbine Muguruza said on Saturday the “real truth” about what happened to Peng Shuai may never be known after the tennis star accused a senior Chinese politician of sexual assault. Peng, a former Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion, claimed on social media in November that former vice premier Zhang Gaoli forced her to have sex during a long-term relationship. . It was the first time the #MeToo movement had touched China’s ruling Communist Party, but Peng’s online post was deleted and her claims censored, then she disappeared from public view, only to reappear three weeks later.
However, doubts remain as to Peng’s actual freedom and after making global headlines for weeks, the outcry over his plight has since died down and the tennis world has turned its focus to the saga of visas of Novak Djokovic.
“Are we going to know anything about it? I don’t know, I think it’s a complicated country to deal with,” Muguruza told reporters from Peng and China, which will host the Winter Olympics on next month in the capital Beijing.
“It’s not advancing a bit, I think. It’s just been there for months and months,” said two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza ahead of the start of the Australian Open on Monday, where Peng will be absent.
“It seemed like for a while, okay, we’re going to find out what’s going on.
“I think it’s going to be very difficult to find real truth and for her to be able to speak freely.”
The Women’s Tennis Association led the way by demanding to know what happened to Peng and suspending tournaments in China because of it.
“I feel like it’s something the WTA has done well,” added Spaniard Muguruza.
“I think they showed a lot of courage and character in supporting them and making these strong decisions.”
Australian world number one Ashleigh Barty said that when it comes to female players and the WTA regarding Peng, “our message has not changed”.
“We hope she’s okay, we really hope she’s okay, she’s okay, and I hope we see her here again soon,” she said.
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