Peng Shuai concerns ‘not alleviated’ by recent L’Equipe interview, say WTA
WTA chairman Steve Simon says they remain concerned about Peng Shuai following her latest public appearance.
Peng accused a former high-ranking official in the Chinese government of sexual assault in November and mysteriously vanished for two weeks immediately after making the allegations.
Since then she has done video interviews and been seen at events in China and consistently attempted to retract her previous accusations.
The latest of those attempts came in a video interview with L’Equipe in which she said: “I never said anyone had sexually assaulted me in any way.
“There was a huge misunderstanding in the outside world following this post. I don’t want the meaning of this post to be twisted anymore. And I don’t want any further media hype around it.
“I never disappeared. Everyone could see me. I never disappeared. It’s just that many people, like my friends or people from the IOC, messaged me and it was simply impossible to answer so many messages. But I’ve been always in close contact with my close friends.”
However, Simon says he remains unconvinced that Peng is acting of her own free will and he is still concerned for her safety.
“It’s always good to see Peng Shuai, whether in an interview or attending the Olympic Games,” Simon said.
“However, her recent in-person interview does not alleviate any of our concerns about her initial post from November 2.
“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.
“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.”
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