“Great initiative” Tennis community applauds Mahut’s invite to Peng Shuai

The world No. 5 doubles player continues to shine the spotlight on the case of ‘missing’ Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai signs large-sized tennis balls at the opening ceremony of Fila Kids Junior Tennis Challenger Final in Beijing, China November 21, 2021

French tennis player Nicolas Mahut has received wide spread praise from the tennis fraternity for his video message to Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, who has been in the spotlight after accusing a former top Communist party official of sexual assault last month.

Mahut’s tweet received widespread acclaim from tennis players and tennis fans. Among those who applauded his message was ITF Player Council member Tara Moore and former French players Pauline Parmentier, Nathalie Dechy.

Tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg and tennis media analyst Jan Michael Gambill, a former ATP pro, also tweeted their support to Mahut and Peng Shaui.

Since her post on the social media platform Weibo on November 2, which was soon taken off the Internet in China, Peng Shaui has not been in touch with any of the WTA staff or players. She has only been seen in pictures and videos released by the Chinese state media and has had 2 video calls with the International Olympic Committee, of which scant details have been released by the IOC.

As a result of her allegations, the WTA Tour, under the leadership of Chairman and CEO Steve Simon, has decided to suspend all tournaments in China until the issue is resolved.

Mahut invites Peng Shuai to France

39-year-old Mahut, a former top 40 singles player in singles and a former doubles No 1, is still a top 5 player in doubles and is the Tournament Director of the ongoing WTA $125K event in Angers Loire, France. In a video message posted on the event’s social media platforms on Thursday, Mahut invited Peng Shuai to hand over the tournament’s trophy to the winner over the weekend.

“Hello, it’s Nicolas Mahut. I am the tournament director of WTA 125 Open P2i Angers Loire. Everything is going well for this first edition but one particular player is missing – Peng Shuai. You are not on the court this week, so I would like to invite you to deliver the trophy to our winner on Sunday, in my city. Peng Shuai, we are waiting for you.”

This is not the first time that Mahut has spoken out about the issue on a public platform. The Frenchman has repeatedly asked the ATP Tour to also stand with the WTA Tour and suspend tournaments in the region.

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