Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai said she had never accused anyone of sexually assaulting her and claimed that a post she posted last month was misunderstood.
Peng grabbed the headlines out of fear for his well-being after appearing to make a sexual assault allegation against former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.
Concerns grew in the tennis community after she shared the post on Weibo and was absent from the public for nearly three weeks.
In response, the Women’s Tennis Association announced this month that it will suspend all tournaments in China due to concerns about Peng’s safety.
However, she has now broken her silence and said she is not accusing anyone of sexual assault.
In a video shared by Singaporean media Lianhe Zaobao, Peng said, “First of all I must stress an extremely important point, I have never said or written that someone sexually assaulted me, I must clearly underline this point. ”
This is the first time Peng has spoken on camera about this.
She also claimed that the post, which has since been abolished, was a “private matter”.
The Women’s Tennis Association praised the video, but is still calling for an investigation.
A spokesperson said, “It was once again nice to see Peng Shuai in a public place and we certainly hope that she is doing well.
“As we have always stated, these appearances do not alleviate or address the WTA’s significant concerns about their well-being and their ability to communicate without censorship or coercion.
“We remain firm in our call for a full, fair and transparent, uncensored investigation into his allegation of sexual assault, which is the issue that raised our initial concern.”
Earlier this month, WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon said in a statement: “Unfortunately, the Chinese leadership has not tackled this very serious issue credibly.
“Although we now know Peng’s whereabouts, I seriously doubt that she is free, safe and free from censorship, coercion and intimidation.”
“In good conscience, I don’t see how I can ask our athletes to compete there when Peng Shuai is not allowed to communicate freely and has apparently been pressured to contradict his allegation of sexual assault.
“Considering the current state of affairs, I am also very concerned about the risks all of our players and staff may face if we host events in China in 2022.”