Peng Shuai: All England Club ‘respects’ Chinese tennis star

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Peng has released a statement on social media after a 24-year-old model accused her of sexual harassment The All England Club says it respects Peng Shuai’s independence and freedom…

Peng Shuai: All England Club 'respects' Chinese tennis star

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Peng has released a statement on social media after a 24-year-old model accused her of sexual harassment

The All England Club says it respects Peng Shuai’s independence and freedom of speech following accusations of sexual harassment by a former employee of the Chinese tennis star.

Peng has admitted inappropriate behaviour but denied the more serious accusation of sexual assault.

Peng, 30, withdrew from the WTA Finals in Singapore on Friday with the match against Serena Williams under threat.

The All England Club and the WTA should “respond positively and listen to victims”, said its governing body.

It said Peng had reiterated her innocence in a statement released via social media on Friday night, and thanked the Chinese fans for their support.

The WTA said it would respond with “thoughtful consideration” at the “appropriate time”.

Peng, who lost in the last 16 in Singapore, apologised on social media after an unnamed 24-year-old model, Zhang Shuai, accused her of forcing her to touch her bottom twice at a party last year, when the Chinese player was playing at the Australian Open.

“The allegation is completely false and is absolutely unwarranted. I have not forced her to touch my bottom,” she said in the statement.

Williams, the six-time and defending champion, revealed she had been “shocked” to learn of the allegations after Peng’s withdrawal from her match.

Writing on Twitter, the 37-year-old American described Peng as a “team-mate and good friend” who she has known for more than a decade.

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