Peng Shuai Indian Wells 2017

Peng Shuai again denies making sexual assault allegations and claims she ‘never disappeared’

Peng Shuai has denied making any sexual assault allegations for a second time as she claims she “never disappeared” and reiterates there has been a “huge misunderstanding.”

Back in November, former French Open and Wimbledon doubles champion Peng Shuai alarmed the world when she posted a social media post which accused former Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into a sexual relationship.

In the now deleted post, Peng wrote “why did you (Zhang Gaoli) take me to your house and force me into having relations with you?”

It was then reported that she publicly disappeared for approximately three weeks in the immediate aftermath of her social media post.

After China failed to satisfy the Women’s Tennis Association’s (WTA) requests for a “full, fair and transparent investigation,” they decided to withdraw all events from China, including the prestigious WTA Finals.

The latest update to the situation came when a pro-Beijing news outlet interviewed Peng in public and she retracted her sexual assault allegations and said there had been multiple “misunderstandings.”

Now, Peng has echoed these claims in an interview with French newspaper L’Equipe at the Beijing Winter Olympics. The interview was conducted in Chinese and then translated by the Chinese Olympic Committee chief of staff Wang Kan.

Prior to the interview with L’Equipe, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had been the only Western organisation to establish a video  interview and in-person contact with Peng.

In the interview, the reporter asked “in the text (social media post) we could see in Europe, you accused someone of sexual assault. What did you really write? We don’t understand.”

To which Peng replied “sexual assault? I never said anyone had sexually assaulted me in any way,” without elaboration.

Peng continued “I didn’t think there would be such concern and I would like to know: why such concern?

“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  (International Olympic Committee) messaged me, and it was simply impossible to answer so many messages.

“But I’ve been always in close contact with my close friends.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.