Peng slams CTA 'set-up'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 December, 2006, 12:00am

China's troubled diva Peng Shuai is once again locked in a public dispute with the Chinese Tennis Association after she claimed to have been 'set up' by the governing body at a tournament in Guangzhou.

Peng, 20, did not turn up for a semi-final tie against national teammate Yan Zi at the Chinese Grand Prix on Tuesday because she was not informed about a schedule change until the last minute. Peng lost the match by default.

'I didn't know about the match being rescheduled until five minutes before the game was supposed to start,' said Peng, who was in Shanghai on Tuesday morning for a visa interview with the US consulate and thought she had enough time to make it back to Guangzhou for her match, which was supposed to start at 6pm.

'It's fine that they reshuffled the times, but I just can't figure out why they didn't let me know earlier ... it is unfair,' said a tearful Peng at the Guangzhou Tianhe Sports Centre. 'Can anybody tell me whether this is a conspiracy or just a petty mistake? I really want to learn the truth.'

Gao Shenyang, the deputy director of the CTA, said the matches were rescheduled in order to avoid Guangzhou's chilly weather in the evening. But he did not explain why Peng had been informed so late.

It is not the first time Peng, the former China number one, has taken issue with the CTA. She openly challenged the governing body 10 months ago in a bid to take control of her career instead of being managed by the association.

But the attempt was foiled and Peng has seen her form decline ever since, with her world ranking down to 55 from the a high of 31 late last year.