Peng Shuai news: Former world No 1 blasts Australian Open for ‘pathetic’ Peng Shuai’s T-shirts ban

Peng Shuai

Martina Navratilova has slammed the Australian Open following a decision to ban T-shirts and banners supporting Chinese player Peng Shuai.

The 18 Grand Slam champion has called the decision “pathetic” and believes the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA)] stands pretty much alone in its support for the former doubles world No 1.

Last week fans were asked to remove their T-shirts that asked “Where is Peng Shuai?” while banners were confiscated.

The Grand Slam’s organisers over the weekend stated they although they stand by their decision, the Chinese player’s safety is their primary concern and they continued to work with the WTA to seek more clarity.

Last year, Shuai accused former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into having sex,but her social media post was quickly deleted.

The 36-year-old later appeared in a video posted by Singapore media outlet, Lianhe Zaobao, denying ever calling out the former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of forcibly having sex with her.

Since November Peng has not been seen publicly.

“Sport has always been on the forefront of social issues, pushing them forward, and we are going backwards I feel. I find it really, really cowardly,” Navratilova has told the Tennis Channel.

“This is not a political statement, this is a human rights statement. And chances are Peng Shuai may be playing here but she couldn’t get out of the country. Anyway, I think they’re wrong on this.

“The WTA has been so strong on this issue. And the players, really taking a chance on their pocket book.”