WTA and the problem of physical and sexual violence

Fiona Ferro spoke final fall about rising sexual assault.Image: EPA

Time and once more, tennis gamers have been victims of psychological, physical and sexual abuse as younger women by older and predominantly male coaches. How the WTA desires to manage the challenge. Here’s what Jill Teichmann thinks.

Simon Haring, Melbourne / Media

It is just not unusual for tennis gamers to journey the world as minors, largely with older coaches and with out their mother and father. France’s Fiona Ferro, whose coach sexually abused her between the ages of 15 and 18, reported final fall about the disastrous dynamics of the relationship and how weak they’re to psychological, physical and sexual abuse.

Older male coaches sexually assaulting younger athletes is the order of the day on the WTA Tour, two-time Australian Open winner and former primary Victoria Asarenka has mentioned.

Relationships the place the boundaries between work and private life are fluid are recognized to have their pitfalls. Jennifer Capriati, Mary Pearce, Jelena Dokic or Timea Bacinski – ladies’s tennis is commonly full of horror tales about how fathers pushed them to the prime. Often they realized later that they’d been subjected to psychological, generally physical and even sexual abuse.

In the summer time of 2022, the British newspaper The Telegraph reported that the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), the skilled physique in ladies’s tennis, had launched an investigation into two prime coaches. They are mentioned to have had abusive relationships with feminine gamers.

Pam Shriver, a 21-time Grand Slam doubles winner and former world No. 3 singles, sparked the debate. In 2022, Shriver spoke about beginning a relationship together with her then 50-year-old coach, Don Candy, at age 17. He mentioned he had by no means sexually assaulted her, but it surely wasn’t till forty years later that he realized he had an emotional dependancy and that Candy had an obligation to cease him as an grownup.

Shriver labored as a tv pundit for many years after his profession and is aware of the tennis circus in addition to anybody. He says: Nothing has modified since then. The affect of Vladimir Platenik, who labored with Belinda Bencic for a number of weeks in the summer time of 2018. She mentioned, “I’ve by no means seen so many associates teaching ladies’s tennis.” Such relationships are sometimes poisonous and may be traumatic, Platenik says. And this ought to be prevented.

The Women’s Tennis Association can be conscious of this. Therefore, in November, he appointed the American lawyer Lindsey Brandon as “Director of Defense”. As he has solely lately began work, he can not but discuss the packages whose improvement and implementation are in his space of ​​duty in response to his job profile.

Teichman and Bencic have no idea the program

It is critical to be able to see the “huge image” and clear up the precise issues “day by day” and “on web site”. However, it’s questionable how this may be reconciled with the WTA’s promise that the place is just not travel-related.

So it is no shock that neither Jill Teichmann nor Belinda Bencic have heard of the Security Program and its head, Lindsey Brandon, as CH Media requested. “We did not get a lot,” says Jill Teichmann. He welcomes the creation of the hotline, however warns that he doesn’t know the best way to implement the measures as a result of it might quantity to an invasion of privateness, even when there are indicators that the relationship is poisonous.

Switzerland's Jill Teichmann and Belinda Bencic, right, pose with the trophy after defeating Australia to win the Billie Jean King Cup tennis final at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, Scotland...

Jill Teichmann (left) and Belinda Bencic (proper) have been unaware that the registration workplace had been established.Image: keystone

“There are so many various cultures and conditions on tour,” says Teichmann. Moreover, it’s the similar as in another social setting. “Everyone is aware of somebody you assume is in a bizarre relationship.” In addition, many are in search of themselves in on a regular basis enterprise. If a trusted particular person is affected, he intervenes.

There’s one other problem: Although coaches may be banned from tournaments and banned or banned from working with athletes, the WTA cannot as a result of the coach and athlete are impartial contractors. This additionally exhibits the powerlessness that girls’s tennis is battling.

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