Wimbledon 2022: Suspicion grows in curious case of Chinese tennis star Shuai Peng’s disappearance after activists confronted security

Activists wearing ‘Where is Peng Shuai?’ Wimbledon t-shirts came under the microscope of ‘suspicious’ security staff.

Security personnel confronted the four men inside the All England Club compound and searched their bags, despite no unwanted behavior.

In the video above: Mixed results for the Australians in the fourth round of Wimbledon

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The group of men said they arrived at the Championships on Monday morning via the queue, but did not put on their t-shirts until they were inside the field.

They said they came to Wimbledon to “raise a little awareness” after the conversation around the Chinese tennis player had “calmed down”.

The former Wimbledon doubles champion disappeared from public view last year after accusing a senior Chinese official of sexual assault in November 2021.

She later appeared on state media, but observers said the appearances appeared to have been staged in response to foreign pressure.

The apparition was one of the few where Peng has been seen since the allegations, as questions about her whereabouts and well-being continue to go unanswered.

Will Hoyles, 39, one of the campaigners who works for the Free Tibet campaign, said they were soon confronted by “suspicious” security guards as they walked around the Wimbledon grounds on Monday.

Free Tibet protesters (left to right) Jason Leith, Will Hoyles and Caleb Compton wore eye-catching t-shirts at Wimbledon. Credit: Twitter

He spoke to the PA news agency, explaining why they were wearing the t-shirts.

“We came to try to raise awareness a bit but Wimbledon managed to make it worse by harassing us,” he said.

“They were asking lots of questions about what we were going to do, why we were here, what we had already done, etc.

“And we told them we had just been for a walk and talked to a few people and that’s when they seemed to get quite suspicious.”

He added that staff told them they “shouldn’t approach anyone to talk to them”.

“They said many times that the club doesn’t like to be political,” he said.

“We told them, we don’t believe the message is political because we’re just asking where is a tennis player, where is a Wimbledon champion.”

Hoyles said security personnel disagreed and asked if they were planning anything else before going through their bags for flags or banners.

A spokesman for the All England Club issued a statement in response to the incident.

Peng Shuai has not been seen for some time. Credit: NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

“We can confirm that four guests were approached by security today as they walked past Court No. 1,” they said.

“These people are now enjoying their day with us and still being able to wear their t-shirts.

“Like much of the tennis community and people around the world, we remain very concerned about Peng Shuai and we continue to support the efforts of the WTA.”

Many fans were unhappy with the treatment of the four men, with some taking to social media to share their concerns.

Magical Monday for Kyrgios and Tomljanovic

Elsewhere at the All England Club, a sweet Nick Kyrgios and an emotional Ajla Tomljanovic made a memorable Monday for Australia’s challenge to Wimbledon in a day of hearts, courage and tears on the lawns of SW19.

A big day for Australian tennis, with four players in the last 16 draws for the first time since 1999, was tinged with disappointment as Alex de Minaur and Jason Kubler were knocked out in the fourth round.

But the Kyrgios-Tomljanovic double allowed Australia, for the first time since Jelena Dokic, Pat Rafter and Mark Philippoussis in 2000, to celebrate both male and female players in the quarter-finals.

Kyrgios took on the male role of ‘Australian batsman’ dropping out in the quarters on a day when his famous volatility was replaced by a stubborn bloodthirsty spirit on center court as he tamed American Brandon Nakashima in five sets while nursing a shoulder injury.

Nick Kyrgios was on fire in round four. Credit: Shitang/Getty Images

Then Kyrgios’ former girlfriend Tomljanovic, so often burdened by her own lack of self-confidence, produced one of the most daring performances of her career to kill Wimbledon giants slayer Alize Cornet and reach the last eight for the second consecutive year.

No Australian has achieved this feat since Dokic 22 years ago, and Tomljanovic put a lump in fans’ throats on Court 2 by saying after her tears subsided: “I didn’t really think I could do it… “

De Minaur and Kubler, the archetypal ‘Australian drummers’, had to hand that crown for a day to Kyrgios, who produced, by his scintillating standards, a subdued performance with few fireworks – and no controversy – but still struggled to fight their way to a first Grand Slam quarter-final since the 2015 Australian Open.

The only disappointment after his 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2 win over 20-year-old Nakashima was that he wouldn’t be able to play against his Sydney pal and the Aussie No. .1 from Minaur in the last eight.

“I was really excited to play Minaur to be honest. He’s been carrying the Australian flag for so long and he was two sets down when I got on the court,” said Kyrgios, who hoped Australia could bring three men in the Wimbledon quarters for the first time in 51 years.

But de Minaur gave up a straight-set advantage and then couldn’t convert either match point in the deciding set with a crushing 2-6 5-7 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 7 -6 (10- 6) loss against unranked Chilean Cristian Garin.

Kubler’s dream run through qualifying for his first-ever Grand Slam quarter-final then ended in perhaps predictable brutal fashion as he was whisked away to school by America’s 11th seed Taylor Fritz 6-3 6-1 6-4.

But Kyrgios put aside the mantle of showman to tackle his victory, which was a thankfully sweet affair compared to the chaos that enveloped his previous barn burner with Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“I knew from the start that I wasn’t playing as well as I would have liked. I knew I had to keep my head down and fight today. It was a good mental performance,” Kyrgios said.

Ajla Tomljanovic is qualified for the quarter-finals. Credit: Takuya Matsumoto/PA

Tomljanovic must have been proud of hers too, as she had to come out of a set down and resist a late rally from the indomitable Cornet, winner of world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the previous round, before winning 4-6 6-4 6-3.

The 29-year-old will next face talented Kazakh left-hander Elena Rybakina, who beat her on clay in their only encounter in Madrid last year.

“After last year, against Ash (Barty in the quarter-finals), I can face anyone,” said Tomljanovic, who made good viewing for the Netflix tennis documentary team after his rejuvenating race.

With the AAP

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