Peng Shuai: WTA ‘deeply concerned’ after Chinese star gives birth

Peng Shuai has not played since pulling out of the Madrid Open at the quarter-final stage last week

WTA remains “deeply concerned” about Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai after she reportedly gave birth to her third child.

Peng, 29, pulled out of the Madrid Open last week citing “pregnancy complications” after reaching the quarter-finals.

But a player told the BBC that Peng – ranked 57th in the world – had secretly wed a friend in Germany a year ago and gave birth to a daughter in late April.

It is understood Peng wants to retire from the WTA tour.

In a statement to the BBC, WTA spokesman Elaine Ji said: “The WTA is deeply concerned about what appears to be Peng Shuai’s intention to retire from the WTA tour as a mother.

“There is an increased number of parents making a commitment to the women’s tennis tour, and one might understand her desire to secure her family’s long-term future, but we will continue to monitor developments with Peng Shuai.”

She added: “However, every WTA player still represents a responsibility to the WTA.

“It is up to each player, each year, to meet the health and welfare needs of her family, knowing the time demands on the profession require that players must commit to their careers at least until the age of 30.”

Shuai, who has yet to play a competitive match since last season ended, missed the French Open in May 2017 because of the birth of her second child.

‘I do not have anything to hide’

Peng Shuai won the WTA Tournament of Champions in 2014

On Friday Peng – whose father was an ATP player – played against Unidentified women at a public event in Beijing to declare her intention to play again.

“I’ve had this problem for a long time,” she said through an interpreter. “With my grandfather, my father and with my mother.

“I do not have anything to hide, and this is what I’m talking about now. That’s why I come out and announce that I’m ready to play tennis again.”

In a live video on Chinese social media, she was asked why she had not told anyone about her decision to return to tennis.

“My family did not know until yesterday,” she replied. “I didn’t say anything at all about it to my parents.”

When asked if she had plans to compete at Wimbledon, Peng replied: “That’s a realistic possibility. I will definitely make that very strong step in the future and I really hope that my family and my team can support me.

“I miss them.”

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