Written by by Zi Sze Yong, CNN
It’s been less than 24 hours since the last sightings of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, and pressure is growing for China to explain her disappearance.
The 33-year-old’s family have reportedly found her tennis career going great after retiring from the sport to take up a teaching position at a young girl’s academy — two days before she went missing.
Peng Shuai, pictured in 2017. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
On Tuesday, her family announced she’d turned up at her new office at the teenhood centre on December 30, looking tired but well, according to her father Huang Huicheng.
“She spoke good English and was even able to carry a conversation. She had no sickness or pain,” said Huang.
Still, he said that, in hindsight, she “hadn’t exactly enjoyed coaching the students, but she would have been happy to work for this small project.”
The news came as her family attempted to receive an official explanation about her disappearance.
“We have to rely on common sense but so far no explanation has come,” he told the South China Morning Post.
Huang, whose daughter quit her sport in 2015, has accused the Chinese Tennis Association (CTA) of failing to screen the coaching background of her new supervisor and fellow tennis player – the retired goalkeeper Swan Song.
“I am somewhat disappointed with the CTA as she was followed for long time by Swan Song,” he said.
In December 2015, Peng flew to China with Song to train the students at Young Girls Tennis Academy (YTSA) in the city of Xi’an, southwest of Beijing.
The two played tennis, but reportedly never taught students on site.
According to the YTSA’s website, Swan Song taught about 5,000 students over the course of eight years as head of the Zhang Jizhe School of soccer.
he newspaper said Song had returned to his native Belgium earlier this month with his wife and son.
But he’d spoken to Peng on the phone one day before she disappeared and confirmed to her father that he was returning to China, according to the report.
The paper quoted a YTSA staff member as saying that there had been “problemes” in Song’s past management style but that “the organization (is) eager to solve these problems and support him”.
Trying to reconnect
Back home in China, scores of posts and messages had been generated on social media in an attempt to contact Peng.
One message reads: “Our hearts are heavy. Peng, I hope you are feeling better. We want to help you and our prayers are with you. Hang in there and please let us know when you are out.”
Another said: “Please let us know where you are. Thanks to all the people making the effort and sending you messages.”
Her mother Guo Tianhe, a former tennis player herself, has appealed for her daughter’s safe return.
“I hope she can contact us soon, we are worried, and we want to know why she couldn’t contact us yesterday,” she told the South China Morning Post.
Local authorities said Peng had not committed any legal violation, according to the report.