Chinese media posts photos of tennis star Peng Shuai attending junior tournament in Beijing | Tennis News

Chinese state media on Sunday released a video and photos of tennis star Peng Shuai at a youth tournament in Beijing amid growing concern about her whereabouts after she accused a former top Communist party leader of sexual assault.

The footage was released by Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of state-run newspaper Global Times, who said on Twitter that the video was shot on Sunday.

Peng was shown standing beside a court and then waving and signing oversize commemorative tennis balls for children.

“Peng Shuai showed up at the opening ceremony of a teenager tennis match final in Beijing on Sunday morning,” Hu tweeted.

“A video shot by my colleague Cui Meng at the National Tennis Centre showing Peng Shuai signing on large-sized tennis balls at the opening ceremony of Junior Tennis Challenger final, a way of inspiring more kids to play tennis as a hobby and also as a career,” another state media journalist said on Twitter, a platform which is officially banned in China.

In the video, Peng is shown smiling and posing for photographs with young players.

Peng is seen wearing a dark blue jacket and white trousers with her hair tied into a ponytail, and smiling and waving at the audience.

The release of the video followed an announcement by Hu on Saturday that the former world No. 1 would “show up in public” soon.

Earlier, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) chief said a video released Saturday night showing Peng Shuai out with friends was “insufficient” evidence of her safety.

Chinese state-affiliated media posted two clips on Twitter of Peng purportedly having dinner with her coach and friends in a restaurant.

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“While it is positive to see her, it remains unclear if she is free and able to make decisions and take actions on her own, without coercion or external interference,” said Steve Simon, WTA chief.

“This video alone is insufficient. As I have stated from the beginning, I remain concerned about Peng Shuai’s health and safety and that the allegation of sexual assault is being censored and swept under the rug. I have been clear about what needs to happen and our relationship with China is at a crossroads,” Simon said.

Peng has not been seen or heard from publicly since she accused former vice-premier, Zhang Gaoli, of sexual assault on November 2, a day after his 75th birthday.

Her allegation first emerged on China’s social media platform, Weibo, but was quickly deleted.

Roger Federer on Saturday voiced his concern about Peng, the latest star player to do so.

“She’s one of our tennis champions, a former world No. 1, and clearly it’s concerning,” Federer told Sky Italia.

“I hope she’s safe. The tennis family sticks together and I’ve always told my children as well that the tennis family is my second family. I’ve been on tour for 20-25 years and I love the tour, I love the people that are there, [they] are special, the players as well, and she’s one of them.”

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