New Zealand tennis No 1 Finn Tearney has spoken about a harrowing ordeal he suffered last year in China, saying he was kidnapped and forced to withdraw money for his captors.
Tearney was experiencing his first year on the professional tour when, in September while playing the Shanghai Challenger, he and an Australian friend wandered down the "wrong street" and were cornered in a restaurant by a group of men.
"I was absolutely petrified," Tearney told Fairfax Media. "I was wearing a white shirt and I was completely drenched. It was one of the first times in my life I felt like I had no control."
Tearney said the men told the two tourists they were members of the Chinese mafia, though the Kiwi doubted the veracity of those claims.
"We couldn't get out," Tearney said. "There were too many of them. Basically, they told us, 'give us the money'.
"They had some weapons. It was horrendous. I never want to be in that position again."
Tearney said the men threatened to cut off the finger of his friend after the Australian's card declined, before Tearney was forced to withdraw $1100.
"They actually wanted a lot more, but I didn't have it."
The two men were released after handing over the money and, upon informing tournament organisers, Tearney was eventually reimbursed.