Victoria Azarenka urges ‘better safeguarding’ for ‘young and vulnerable’ WTA pros
Victoria Azarenka has spoken up about the problems of player-coach dynamics on the WTA tour after advancing to the fourth round of the US Open.
The three-time US Open finalist has made the comments in light of the news that former world number 39 Fiona Ferro has accused her former coach Pierre Bouteyre of rape and sexual assault against her when she was as young as 15 years old and he was 40.
Azarenka, who is a prominent member of the WTA player council, spoke after defeating Petra Martic in the third round.
“It’s a very sensitive subject, because you won’t hear those stories unless players come out and tell those stories,” she explained. “It happens right and left on the tour, which is unfortunate.
“Our job is to be better at safeguarding. [On the] player council, it’s almost like the number one subject to us. Because we see those vulnerable young ladies that getting taken advantage of in different situations.
“I applaud her [Ferro] for being brave. I hope this she’s going to come out of [this situation] stronger and tennis is not ruined for her because of that.”
Azarenka is a mother, her son Leo turning six this year. She suggested the situation on the WTA tour could disparage parents from encouraging their children to pursue the sport.
“If I had a daughter, I would have a question would she want to play tennis,” she continued. “That would be a very big concern in that way for me.”
The former world number one faces Karolina Pliskova next, another woman who once topped the WTA ladder.
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