WTA chief says latest Peng Shuai interview 'does not alleviate' safety concerns

Concerns remain for Chinese star's safety and freedom despite her latest comments.

WTA chief Steve Simon insist they remain unsatisfied about the safety of Peng Shuai after her recent interview with L'Equipe.

Peng disappeared for two weeks after accusing a former high-ranking official in the Chinese government of sexually assaulting her in November.

She has since resurfaced in video interviews to retract the allegations although questions have been raised over her freedom.

The latest of those interviews was given to L'Equipe, in which Peng Shuai 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, that has understandably failed to convinced the WTA of her safety, with Simon expressing his latest concerns in a statement.

"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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