Chinese player Peng Shuai: Tennis stars call for more support after racist abuse

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption China’s Peng Shuai celebrates winning her first match of the year at the BNP Paribas Open

Tennis stars have backed a campaign to support Chinese player Peng Shuai following reports of racist abuse at the BNP Paribas Open.

American Venus Williams shared an image on Instagram showing four players from the men’s world number one ranked ATP tour, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

The hashtag ‘Stand for Respect’ has also been set up.

She said: “Please post the message in your own language and let us see it soon because more people will know.”

Williams was praised for her response but four-time Wimbledon champion Murray said he was “upset” by recent reports.

“I’m concerned that we are losing our language,” he wrote on Instagram.

“We should stand up to racism and discrimination no matter what the country or company is from and as the captain of the UK Davis Cup team, I wish to remind them that the only route through Davis Cup in the UK is through our history and culture.

“We should never forget that. I will always stand with that people. While I am disappointed and upset at the recent reports of the spectator offending the game, we must remember that racism and discrimination in any form are unacceptable.”

Two reports in Chinese media said a spectator had made racist gestures to Peng during her first-round match on Sunday, prompting Peng to sign an open letter asking for calm and “respect” from the tournament organisers.

A tournament spokesperson said on Monday that the man had been banned from returning to the venue for two years.

Peng, 34, defeated Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens 6-1 6-3 at Indian Wells, California.

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