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By Richard Pagliaro | Monday, December 20, 2021

Peng Shuai

In a new interview, Peng Shuai says there is "a lot of misunderstanding" about her case and says she's never claimed "anyone sexually assaulted me."

Photo credit: Christopher Levy

Peng Shuai denies she accused a former Chinese Vice Premier of sexually assaulting her.

In a new video interview with Chinese language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao, the former doubles world No. 1 says there is "a lot of misunderstanding" about a social media post from her account alleging China's former Vice Premier sexually assaulted her in his home.

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"I have never said or written that anyone sexually assaulted me," Peng Shuai told 
Lianhe Zaobao. "This point must be emphasized very clearly."

The WTA, which cancelled all 2022 tournaments in China in reponse to Peng Shuai's case, says this interview and previous video interviews she did with the IOC do not adress its questions on the former Wimbledon doubles champion's safety and ability to speak freely.

The videos "don't alleviate or address the WTA's concern about her wellbeing and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion,” the Tour said in a statement earlier this month.

The WTA said neither photos nor video address the serious concerns it has for her safety nor does it address the serious sexual assault claim Peng Shuai publicly made against China's former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.  She says he "forced" her to have sex at his home after they played tennis together.

The 35-year-old Peng Shuai alleges she and the now 75-year-old Zhang Gaoli had what she’s called an extra-marital “relationship” for several years. The Roland Garros doubles champion said he broke off their relationship as he rose higher up the political ranks over fears she would expose. Then, Peng Shuai says, he invited her to his home to play tennis and sexually assaulted her.

Given the gravity of these allegations and Peng Shuai’s safety, the WTA continues to call for a full, transparent investigation into her claims.


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