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Serena Williams pleads for investigation into Peng Shuai's 'disappearance' in heartfelt statement

The Chinese tennis player has not been heard from in weeks

Serena Williams issued a heartfelt statement on Thursday evening calling for an investigation into the disappearance of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai.

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The Wimbledon champ took to Twitter to urge people "not to stay silent" after she discovered Peng has not been heard from since she made sexual assault allegations against a leading Chinese government official two weeks ago. Sharing a photo of Peng with the hashtag, "Where is Peng Shuai", Serena penned: "I am devastated and shocked to hear about the news of my peer, Peng Shuai.

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"I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible. This must be investigated and we must not stay silent. Sending love to her and her family during this incredibly difficult time. #whereispengshuai."

Many fans thanked Serena for speaking up, while others also shared their concerns for the former doubles world No 1. "Awesome Serena for standing up," replied one follower on Twitter.

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A second said: "Thank you for raising global awareness on #WhereIsPengShuai. Hope more athletes around the world will show solidarity to #PengShuai."

A third added: "Thank you very much for your concern about and voice for Peng Shuai, which are strong and powerful! She was very brave to tell what she experienced and should not be 'disappeared.'"

Serena urged for an investigation into Peng Shuai's whereabouts

Serena isn't the only tennis star to voice her concerns over Peng's whereabouts. Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Japan's four-time major winner Naomi Osaka have also expressed their worries.

Andy said: "Female tennis player Peng Shuai whereabouts currently unknown after making sexual abuse allegations against Chinese government official. This speech gives us a reminder and some hope that things can change in the future #WhereIsPengShuai."

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The Chinese tennis star has not been heard from since early November

Meanwhile, the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) said it was prepared to pull its tournaments out of China if they were not satisfied with the response to Peng's allegation.

"We're definitely willing to pull our business and deal with all the complications that come with it," WTA chief executive Steve Simon told CNN in an interview on Thursday.

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