Peng Shuai move 'does not alleviate our concerns'

4 months ago 87
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The WTA says it continues to hold concerns for Peng Shuai, despite the tennis player giving her first interview to independent media since making sexual assault allegations against a former high-ranking Chinese politician.

Peng spoke to French media outlet L'Equipe at the Beijing Winter Olympics, although she was joined by Chinese Olympic Committee chief of staff Wang Kan.

Peng said she "never disappeared" and that the now-deleted post "has given rise to a huge misunderstanding from the outside world."

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The 36-year-old, a doubles champion at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon, once again retracted the allegations she had made against former Chinese vice-premier Zhang Gaoli in November.

In a statement, WTA boss Steve Simon once again insisted the allegations must be investigated fully and openly.

Peng Shuai (Getty)

"It's always good to see Peng Shuai, whether in an interview or attending the Olympic Games," he said.

"However, her recent in-person interview does not alleviate any of our concerns about her initial post from November 2nd.

"To reiterate our view, Peng took a bold step in publicly coming forth with the accusation that she was sexually assaulted by a senior Chinese government leader.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 23: Shuai Peng of China plays a backhand during her Women's Doubles first round match with partner Shuai Zhang of China against Veronika Kudermetova of Russia and Alison Riske of the United States on day four of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 23, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) (Getty)

"As we would do with any of our players globally, we have called for a formal investigation into the allegations by the appropriate authorities and an opportunity for the WTA to meet with Peng - privately - to discuss her situation.

"We continue to hold firm on our position and our thoughts remain with Peng Shuai."

The WTA previously announced a a boycott of all events in China in a move that could cost more than a billion dollars.

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