In an event during the Australian Open 2022, a video of security guards asking fans to remove “Where is Peng Shuai?” tee shirts emerged. The tee-shirts referred to the recent events and unrest regarding former No.14 “Peng Shuai“.
Peng Shuai took to a social media platform based in China, claiming that Chinese Communist Party member Zhang Gaoli pressurized her into sex. In the following weeks, the tennis star was nowhere to be found on social media or any public platform.
A TikTok user uploaded a video in which fans at the Australian Open were approached by security They were asked to remove the shirts with the slogan on them. A banner was also seen in the hands of members of security. “The Australian Open does have a rule that you can’t have political slogans. It’s a rule that it’s a condition of entry” an officer was heard saying.
“Tennis Australia does set the rules, and regardless of what you’re saying. I’m not saying you can’t have those views, but I am saying that Tennis Australia sets the rules here.”Security is allowed to confiscate the shirts and the banner.”
In a statement given to ESPN from Tennis Australia, the organization said its “primary concern” is the safety of Peng Shuai. But added that fans are not allowed to bring onto the grounds or display political statements at the tournament.
“Under our ticket conditions of entry we don’t allow clothing, banners or signs that are commercial or political,” a spokesperson said. “Peng Shuai’s safety is our primary concern. We continue to work with the WTA and global tennis community to seek more clarity on her situation and will do everything we can to ensure her well-being.”
Words by eminent Tennis Figures.
Two-time Australian Open winner and WTA Player Council member Victoria Azarenka said the situation is “unfortunate.”
“There hasn’t been that much development in terms of contact with Peng Shuai. Even though from our side we will continue to make any and all efforts to make sure that she is safe, she feels comfortable.“
Naomi Osaka says it is important to keep asking questions about her safety. “I imagine myself in her shoes, and in that way, it’s a little bit scary. You kind of want to lend your voice and you want people to, you know, ask the questions.”
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