Peng Shuai invited by Nicolas Mahut to present winner's trophy at Angers Open

World number five doubles player Nicolas Mahut, who is also the tournament director of the ongoing WTA125 Angers Open, on Thursday invited Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai to hand over the winner's trophy on Sunday.

World number five doubles player Nicolas Mahut, who is also the tournament director of the ongoing WTA125 Angers Open, invited Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai to hand over the winner's trophy on Sunday. (FILE PHOTO)   -  REUTERS

World number five doubles player Nicolas Mahut, who is also the tournament director of the ongoing WTA125 Angers Open, on Thursday invited Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai to hand over the winner's trophy on Sunday.

Former doubles world number one Peng Shuai's whereabouts became a matter of international concern for nearly three weeks after she posted a message on social media on November 2 alleging that China's former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli had sexually assaulted her.

In a video on the tournament's official Twitter handle, Mahut said, "Everything is going well for this first edition but one particular player is missing, Peng Shuai. You are not on the court this week, so I would like to invite you to deliver the trophy to our winner on Sunday, in my city. Peng Shuai, we are waiting for you."

The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) last week suspended its tournaments in China due to concerns over the safety of Peng, to which China's foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, "We are firmly opposed to acts politicising sport."

The International Olympic Committee's (IOC) two video calls with Peng are the only reported contacts she has had with people outside China since her November 2 social media post.

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