Chinese tennis star Peng denies sexual assault claims

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has denied she made accusations of sexual assault against a former Chinese vice premier Zhang Gaoli.

In a video interview published Sunday by a Singapore media outlet, Peng said that "I have never said or written that anyone has sexually assaulted me."

She said that that a now-removed social media post she had made about it had been misunderstood.

Peng's remarks were the first time she'd publicly addressed the matter on camera and were made on the sidelines of a cross-country skiing event that she had attended in Shanghai alongside athletes from various sports, including former NBA basketball star Yao Ming.

After Peng's post online, she was absent from public view for three weeks.

Her well-being became a matter of concern among the global tennis community and rights groups.

And discussion of the scandal, which emerged as Beijing prepares to stage the Winter Olympics in February, has been heavily censored in China.

In response to Sunday's interview, the Women's Tennis Association continued to call for an investigation into Peng's allegations and that "as we have consistently stated, these appearances do not alleviate or address the WTA's significant concerns about her well-being and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion."

Earlier this month it had said it would suspend tournaments in China because of concerns over Peng's treatment and the safety of other players.

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