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"Peng Shuai's recent in-person interview does not alleviate any of our concerns about her initial post" - WTA Chairman Steve Simon

The WTA is still concerned about Peng Shuai despite her recent media interview
The WTA is still concerned about Peng Shuai despite her recent media interview

WTA Chairman Steve Simon has said the organization remains concerned about the safety and wellbeing of Peng Shuai despite her recent interview with L'Equipe.

The 36-year-old's disappearance from the public eye after accusing the former Chinese Vice Premier of sexual assault has been widely talked-about over the past few months. Several tennis players, including Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka, shared their concerns regarding her safety and well-being.

Peng denied making allegations of sexual assault while speaking to a journalist from Singapore newspaper Lianhe Zaobao. She reiterated her stance during an interview with L'Equipe in Beijing.

"First of all, I would like to thank all the ATP and WTA players, all the athletes and all the personalities in large numbers who cared about me," Peng said. "But I didn’t think there would be such concern and I would like to know: why such concern? I never disappeared, everyone could see me.”

Despite the 36-year-old's recent comments, the WTA remains concerned about her safety, with Simon saying the organization wants to meet with her personally.

“It’s always good to see Peng Shuai, whether in an interview or attending the Olympic Games," said the WTA chairman. "However, her recent in-person interview does not alleviate any of our concerns about her initial post from November 2nd."
"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."
WTA remains unmoved by Peng Shuai's carefully managed interview with L'Equipe.Statement out just now: https://t.co/JaErUON2oj

WTA suspending tournaments in China "a bit exaggerated" - Peng Shuai

Peng Shuai at the Winter Olympics in Beijing
Peng Shuai at the Winter Olympics in Beijing

In December 2021, the WTA decided to suspend all tennis tournaments in China after not receiving enough evidence concerning Peng Shuai's safety. Much of this was based on questions surrounding the authenticity of an email written by the former doubles World No.1.

"With the full support of the WTA Board of Directors, I am announcing the immediate suspension of all WTA tournaments in China, including Hong Kong."

Peng said the WTA's decision to ban all tournaments in China was "a bit exaggerated." She also confirmed that that she forwarded the same email to her fellow players, thus authenticating its authorship.

Like everyone, like you, I saw the statement on the official WTA website. [After reading the statement] I thought that was a bit exaggerated. So I responded to WTA president Steve Simon myself," Peng said. "The same evening, I also sent it by WeChat to my colleagues in the players’ department in order to personally confirm that I was the author of the messages sent from my work email.”

Rafael Nadal and wife Maria Francisca Perello spotted with infant son. click here for pictures.

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Edited by Nihal Taraporvala
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