American tennis great Pam Shriver wants the sport’s governing bodies to do more to prevent coaches from sleeping with their pupils.
Shriver, who revealed last year that she had an inappropriate relationship with her coach Don Candy when she was a teenager, told The Age in an interview published Sunday that bringing the hammer down on coaches who sleep with players is as important as cleansing the sport of those who use performance-enhancing drugs or attempt to fix matches.
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“Having seen so many generations of women players struggle with the same thing, I really want women players to have more agency over the separation of their personal life from their professional life,” she told the outlet. “There has been such an acceptance that this happens. That has to switch to ‘No, it can’t happen.’”
Shriver said added layers or protection should be applied to all levels of the sport and called on organizers of the four Grand Slam tournaments to step into a bigger leadership role.
“The WTA is dedicated to ensuring a safe environment across the tour,” a spokeswoman for the organization told the outlet. “Safeguarding requires vigilance, and we are continuing to invest in education, training and resources to improve our efforts.”
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Shriver’s latest remarks come months after French tennis player Fiona Ferro accused her former coach of rape sexual assault. Ferro made the accusations against Pierre Bouteyre in a social media post in September.
Victoria Azarenka also spoke out about the manipulation and exploitation of young players by coaches. She said during the U.S. Open last year the WTA player council considers safeguarding a “No. 1 subject… because we see those vulnerable young ladies that (are) getting taken advantage of in different situations.”
She applauded Ferro for speaking out about her ordeal.
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“I applaud her for being brave,” she said. “I hope this situation, she’s going to come out of it stronger and tennis is not ruined for her because of that. That’s, I think, a very, very heavy topic. But it’s the topic that has to come out more.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.