A highlight from Peng Shuai fears grow; WTA Finals bliss for Muguruzaand Catherine
Is over and we'll get on to talking about Gabon garus win over and at cultivate in a moment or two because there were some incredible scenes and scenes I don't think I'll ever really forget actually from over the course of the last week Matt's here alongside me David lore and we're going to be talking about everything that's gone on over the past couple of days in the semifinals and the finals of the finals and also what's gone on at the ATP finance because there's been some change there with injuries and replacements and alternates coming in and we'll update you with where we are with all of that. But I think we have to start with the ongoing story about the Chinese player pung Shui and the story that just continues to develop. And the concern that continues to grow over her whereabouts and the the lack of verifiable knowledge that she's okay and that she is in going to be in a position to have her allegations investigated. Just to bring you up to date with what happened yesterday we saw a tweet from I think I first saw a tweet from Naomi Osaka Matt that made me think, oh, well, she's speaking up on behalf and asking where is she? And this comes a day after Steve Simon and said that they'd received some assurances albeit not directly from her or not directly from anybody that directly knows her from the tour that she was okay and there was nothing to worry about. But he made it clear that he still wanted to hear more. Then suddenly in the afternoon, a letter was posted by a China state affiliated media organization, which said the following, and it was coming from or at least purported to be from punctual. It says this. Hello everyone. This is punctual, regarding the recent news released on the official website of the WTA, the content has not been confirmed or verified by myself, and it was released without my consent. The news in that release, including the allegation of sexual assault, is not true. I'm not missing, nor am I unsafe. I've just been resting at home and everything is fine. Thank you again for caring about me. If the WTA publishes any more news about me, please verify it with me and release it with my consent. As a professional tennis player, I thank you all for your companionship and consideration. I hope to promote Chinese tennis with you all if I have the chance in the future. I hope Chinese tennis will become better and better. Once again, thank you for your consideration. What was your immediate reaction upon reading that first map? Extremely disturbed and unsettling. And just didn't think it was punctual, writing that to be quite honest. We understood that that was sent to the WTA. And the way it starts with hello everyone, this is punctuate. It just doesn't sound right. There's people picked up on the fact that there's a cursor visible in the middle of the letter, just that isn't how an email ends up being sent. And frankly, what was really quite sickening, actually, there was a lot of concern about punctual at this point. You know, I mean, as they're already had been, but this just ramped it up even more for me. Yeah, and I think what you're saying there is what most people within the sport of tennis felt and were saying. We then received quite shortly afterwards, a statement from Steve Simon, the WTA's chairman and CEO, which read as followers. The statement released today by Chinese state media concerning Peng Shui only raises my concerns as to have safety and whereabouts. I have a hard time believing that punctuate actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her. Punctual, despite incredible courage in describing an allegation of sexual assault against a former top official in the Chinese government. The WTA and the rest of the world need independent and verifiable proof that she is safe. I have repeatedly tried to reach her via numerous forms of communication to no avail. Punctual must be allowed to speak freely without coercion or intimidation from any source. Her allegation of sexual assault must be respected investigated with full transparency and without censorship. The voices of women need to be heard and respected, not censored nor dictated to. That's what Steve Simon had to say in response. And I mean, it continues to escalate really Matt, doesn't it? Based on that, more and more people are taking an interest in this story. I've seen China correspondence on the BBC and on CNN who are normally covering non sports stories are all focused now on this issue on this issue. There's no suggestion that we're going to hear from her in from anybody. We seem to be at a bit of a standoff right now. But quite clearly, Steve Simon is not for backing down and here. I think I think that's really refreshing and that the leader of a sport that has such a financial stake in China is not budging on this particular issue, not fudging his words, not hedging, not using management speak, not talking about, you know, the tournaments that he needs to bear in mind. Obviously this is way, way bigger than that. This gets down to the, you know, this is life.