Banned Peng Shuai denies attempt to ‘coerce’ doubles partner out of Wimbledon
China’s Peng Shuai has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to return to tennis after she was banned for six months and fined $10,000 for attempeting to force her doubles partnership to withdraw from Wimbledon 2017. She was punished by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) on Wednesday, the game’s anti-corruption body.
As per the ruling, it said Peng “used coercion and offered the possibility of financial reward” to try and convince her partner to pull out of Wimbledon last year after the sign-in deadline so that she could swap partners. She had the offer rebuffed and failed to play the tournament as a result.
Despite not playing a role at the prestigious grass court tournament, the TIU banned the veteran for six months, with three suspended, meaning she is ineligible to take court until November 8.
Even though TIU did not name the other player, Peng in her comment on social media named Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck, 24, and claimed she had not tried to strong-arm her.
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“During the 20 years of my professional career I have never used any ways to force a partner to drop out of a match,” Peng, who won the women’s doubles titles at Wimbledon in 2013 and French Open in 2014, wrote on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter. “It was completely her own action to drop out of the doubles. We never gave her any money to drop out of the match with a fake injury.”
Peng’s former coach Bertrand Perret was also banned for three months for his role in the affair, said she is considering an appeal.
“In the meantime, I will not retire. I will discuss and solve whether to appeal or not with a lawyer,” she wrote on Weibo. “Thanks for everyone’s concern.”
Peng is currently ranked 20 in the world in doubles and 80 in singles. The 32-year-old had climbed the top of the doubles rankings in February 2014.
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