WTA chief executive Steve Simon has questioned the legitimacy of a statement attributed to Chinese player Peng Shuai, that stated she was never sexually assaulted by a high ranking government official.
Peng made the accusation on a social media post last month that accused a former Communist Party official Zhang Gaoli of having forced her into sex.
The post was deleted by Chinese government officials and the player subsequently disappeared, before reappearing late last month at a basketball event in China.
Peng Shuai’s latest appearance has not eased concerns about her, after a video emerged of the Chinese tennis star denying accusing anyone of sexual assault, the WTA said via Agence France-Presse and Twitter.
In a statement the WTA said the interview “has not eased concerns about” Peng’s safety.
“We remain steadfast in our call for a full, fair and transparent investigation, without censorship, into her allegation of sexual assault,” the statement added.
The Lianhe Zaobao Chinese-language newspaper posted video of Peng it says was taken yesterday in Shanghai.
“First of all, I want to emphasise something that is very important. I have never said that I wrote that anyone sexually assaulted me. I need to emphasize this point very clearly,” Peng told the newspaper’s reporter.
The reporter did not ask her how or why the November 2 post and accusation appeared and then disappeared, or whether Peng’s account had been hacked.