Banned Peng denies attempt to 'coerce' doubles partner out of Wimbledon
Shanghai (AFP) –
Peng Shuai has denied wrongdoing and vowed to return to tennis after the Chinese star was banned for six months and fined $10,000 for attempting to force her doubles partner to withdraw from Wimbledon.
The 32-year-old, a two-time Grand Slam winner in women's doubles, was punished on Wednesday by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), the game's anti-corruption body.
It said that Peng "used coercion and offered the possibility of financial reward" to convince her doubles partner to pull out of Wimbledon in 2017 after the sign-in deadline so that she could swap partners.
Peng, the number one doubles player in February 2014, had the "offer" rebuffed and failed to play doubles at the prestigious tournament.
But that did not stop the TIU banning the veteran for six months, with three suspended, meaning she is not eligible to play until November 8.
The TIU did not name the other player involved, but in denying wrongdoing on social media Peng named the Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck, 24, and said she had not tried to strong-arm her.
"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 at Wimbledon in 2013 and Roland Garros 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, whose former coach Bertrand Perret was also banned for three months for his role in the murky 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.
© 2018 AFP