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WTA says latest Peng interview does not ease concerns about her safety.

INTERNATIONAL: A recent interview in which Peng Shuai denied accusing anyone of sexual assault has done little to address concerns about the Chinese player's safety, the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) reaffirmed on Monday.

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has reemerged at the Beijing Olympics, and giving a rare interview with the French sports news site L'Equipe.

Peng, a former doubles world number one, told French newspaper L'Equipe that a social media post where she appeared to allege that a former Chinese vice premier, Zhang Gaoli, had sexually assaulted her, was a "huge misunderstanding".

"Sexual assault? I never said anyone had sexually assaulted me in any way," said Peng of the Weibo post, which was later deleted.

The post led the WTA to suspend tournaments in China and caused an international outcry about her wellbeing.

In a statement, WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon said: "It's always good to see Peng Shuai, whether in an interview or attending the Olympic Games.

 Peng Shuai was on hand on Tuesday to watch China's Eileen Gu as she won gold in the Big Air competition in Beijing to put the host nation at the top of the medals table.

Peng's well-being became a matter of global concern when she appeared to allege on social media in November that a former Chinese vice premier, Zhang Gaoli, had sexually assaulted her in the past. After that post, which was quickly removed, she disappeared from public view for nearly three weeks.

Peng has said little since her initial social media post and discussion of the scandal has been heavily censored in China's tightly controlled cyberspace, with searches for Peng's name on Weibo continuing to show no recent search results.

Peng will soon be leaving the "closed loop" at the winter games.



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