Peng Shuai

Chinese tennis player again denies sex assault allegation

The well-being of Peng, a three-time Olympian, became a matter of global concern when she appeared to allege on social media that a former Chinese vice premier, Zhang Gaoli, had sexually assaulted her in the past.

She spoke to a French sports newspaper on the sidelines of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

In an interview with L'Equipe at a hotel in Beijing, Peng denied she had made such allegations.

"In the text we could see in Europe, you accused someone of sexual assault. What did you really write? We don't understand," asked the paper.

Tennis bodies at odds over Peng Shuai

The WTA has halted tournaments in the region because of continued concern for Chinese player Peng Shuai, who has accused a top government official of sexual assault.

"As the governing body of tennis, we stand in support of all women's rights," said David Haggerty, president of the International Tennis Federation.

Peng, 35, was not seen for three weeks after going public with her allegations.

"The allegations need to be looked into, and we will continue to work behind the scenes and directly to bring this to resolution," Haggerty told BBC Sport.


Concerns remain for Chinese tennis star despite video call

The whereabouts of former doubles world number one Peng has been a matter of international concern for nearly three weeks after she alleged that a former senior Chinese government official sexually assaulted her.

She appeared at a dinner with friends at the weekend and at a children's tennis tournament in Beijing with photos and videos published by Chinese state media journalists and by the tournament's organisers.

But they have done little to quell concerns.


Chinese tennis star tells Olympic officials she is safe

In a statement, the IOC said its President Thomas Bach had spoken to Ms Peng for 30 minutes.

"[She] was doing fine, which was our main concern," the statement read.

Ms Peng, 35, disappeared from the public eye for almost three weeks after she made sexual assault allegations against a senior Chinese minister.

Her absence triggered widespread concern, with international sports stars and governments calling on China to provide proof that she was safe.

Serena Williams says case 'must be investigated'

Peng, 35, has not been heard from since she made sexual assault allegations against a leading Chinese government official two weeks ago.

Chinese state media has released an email attributed to Peng, but doubt has been cast about its authenticity.

"I hope she is safe and found as soon as possible," said Williams.

Concern for Peng's welfare has continued to grow since she said she was "forced" into a sexual relationship with former China vice-premier Zhang Gaoli.