China’s former top female tennis player Peng Shuai has accused a coach of repeatedly sexually assaulting her in the 2014 edition of the WTA Finals in Singapore. Peng’s complaint comes just days after Thailand’s women’s number one, Prajnesh Gunneswaran, alleged that two of the ATP World Tour’s male players sexually assaulted her during a training session in May. The WTA, which runs the circuit, has stated that it will push the Tennis Association of China (TAI) for an investigation.
“She made a complaint in November of last year,” said WTA Commission chairperson Stacey Allaster, according to the Wall Street Journal. “The video footage that she reviewed had been reviewed over many months, and there was a review panel that concluded there was insufficient evidence to support the complaint. However, we needed to take the additional step of reviewing what had taken place.”
In a post on Weibo, Peng said the sexual assault took place in the practice room of the Mallorca Hotel, where the tournament was held. Peng alleges that a male coach came in between her and a female player and touched her behind inappropriately. He then forced her to perform oral sex on him, according to Peng, and released her when she couldn’t take it anymore. It was only when she started crying that she was able to summon the courage to ask the coaches’ assistants for help.
“While I was with him … he tickled me, massaged my back. I was completely helpless. If I could not communicate, it would have taken me 30 years to feel what I felt,” said Peng. “It’s really indescribable.”
“In doing this investigation, we were very aware of the difficult issues that can arise with investigations of sexual misconduct, and we are taking this matter very seriously,” Allaster said. “On behalf of our players, we want to extend our deepest sympathies to anyone who has suffered sexual abuse.”
We have been unable to reach the same allegations against the ATP, but Wimbledon, the year’s biggest tennis tournament, has recently been facing rampant claims of sexual abuse by spectators.
Read the full story at The New York Times.
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