World number one woman tennis player Naomi Osaka joined the chorus of international concern about a scandal involving the treatment of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai. Osaka is the daughter of former Chinese tennis star Junya “Daddy” Shen and spent a year away from her home country’s game to enroll in tennis school in Florida.
The 20-year-old daughter of a famous Chinese tennis player expressed dismay about current events involving Peng Shuai, who revealed she had been illegally given a doping suspension in 2016 and then tried to extend it to 2019, reportedly in a bid to prevent the 17-year-old Williams from being named World No. 1.
“I really don’t understand how they can do this to someone,” Osaka said, according to the Washington Post. “Someone who is so young just trying to earn their spot on the tour.”
Osaka said that she felt “sad” for Peng and added that the saga surrounding her move to the U.S. was “really sad for Chinese tennis and tennis and families in general.”
Speaking to reporters, Osaka also said that she hoped the world tour would “correct all the issues” surrounding Peng and “be fair for everyone,” in addition to encouraging more women to take up tennis.
While Osaka is only 20, the federation began her competition at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo on Tuesday, where she was tied with three others for a first-round match against Belgium’s Elise Mertens on Wednesday.
“I’m not the only one,” Osaka said when asked whether there was a girls’ agent in the office who was encouraging more girls to take up tennis. “I’m not the only one that gets upset every time something like this happens.”
This is not the first time that the sexism that women’s tennis faces in China has been spotlighted. Indeed, 2015 was a particularly difficult year for female players in China, who came up short on several major occasions while Williams, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams dominated the WTA.
Last year, the WTA awarded the Rio Olympic medal to Sharapova, who had a doping suspension at the time. There was also the issue of Nick Kyrgios issuing a crude remark about the referee during a match, which resulted in an 8-16 black-ball penalty that ultimately made him the grand slam and tennis player of the year.
Read the full story at The Washington Post.
Natalie Gulbis says she is afraid for female tennis player, Naomi Osaka, whose father gave her drug-test positive
Let’s hold a moment of silence for the women’s tennis world, where women are worried about media scrutiny
A look at how players are supporting more women in the sport, even though their sons may not follow them