Victoria Azarenka believes tennis needs to do more to eliminate inappropriate relationships between male coaches and female players.
It’s been an open secret in sports for years that many such situations happen, and Pam Shriver went public with the revelation earlier this year that she was involved with former coach Don Candy when she was a teenager.
French player Fiona Ferro, meanwhile, has accused her former coach Pierre Bouteyre of rape and sexual assault, with the case now facing legal action.
Azarenka is part of the WTA Player Council and, after her third round victory at the US Open, the Belarusian said: “It’s a very sensitive subject, because you won’t hear these stories unless the players come out. and don’t tell these stories. It happens right and left on the tour, which is unfortunate.
“Our job is to protect better. As a players council, it’s almost like the number one topic for us. Because we see these vulnerable young women being exploited in different situations.
“It’s really sad and it makes me really emotional. If I had a daughter, I would wonder if she would like to play tennis, it would be a very big concern for me.
“Just the recent story with Fiona Ferro coming out. I don’t know how to put it into words sometimes. All you can do is check the person out and give your hand, ‘What the hell am I can I do? How can I help you?’
“I applaud her for her courage. I hope that this situation, she will come out of it stronger and that tennis is not ruined for her because of it. It is, I think, a very , very heavy. But it is the subject that must stand out more.