This file photo taken on January 21, 2020 shows China's Peng Shuai hitting a return against Japan's Nao Hibino during a match of the Australian Open. Photograph:( AFP )
Peng's remarks marked the first time she had addressed the matter on camera in public
Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai on Sunday (December 19) has denied making sexual assault accusations against anyone and also said that her social media post had been misunderstood.
Last month, Shuai remained in the headlines globally when she went 'missing' after she alleged that a powerful Chinese politician sexually assaulted her. Now, she is saying her post on the Twitter-like social media platform Weibo was misinterpreted.
In a social media post, it was understood that Shuai accused a former Chinese vice premier of forcing her into sex several years ago, coerced her into sex and they later had an on-off consensual relationship.
"First, I need to stress one point that is extremely important, I have never said or written that anyone has sexually assaulted me, I have to clearly stress this point," Reuters quoted Peng, citing a video posted by Lianhe Zaobao, a Singapore media outlet.
Peng's remarks marked the first time she had addressed the matter on camera in public. She spoke on the sidelines of a cross-country skiing event in Shanghai that she attended.
The 35-year-old said that her post on Weibo was a "private matter" and further added that "people have many misunderstandings" about her post. She did not elaborate.
👇🏻 Peng Shuai’s interview by Lianhe Zaobao— Byron Wan (@Byron_Wan) December 19, 2021
Peng Shuai denied she had made any accusation of sexual assault by Zhang Gaoli and claimed she wasn’t detained or under coercion. She also claimed she had sent emails to Steve Simon on her own accord.
Early this month, the Women's Tennis Association (WTA), which has sought a direct line of communication with Peng, said it would suspend tournaments in China immediately due to concerns over the treatment of Peng and the safety of other players.
Watch | Gravitas: Peng Shuai changes her story, but WTA unconvinced
Shuai's case became a matter of global concern when top tennis stars such as Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Novak Djokovic, etc questioned her well-being and whereabouts.
IOC had also intervened and held two video calls with the player to assure the world that Peng Shuai is safe.
(With inputs from agencies)