Sports Tennis great Pam Shriver says she had an 'inappropriate'...

Tennis great Pam Shriver says she had an ‘inappropriate’ relationship with coach Don Candy as a teenager

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International Tennis Hall of Famer Pam Shriver said she was in an “inappropriate and damaging relationship” with an older coach and warned that the problem still exists in tennis and that more needs to be done to address abuse between coaches and players.

Shriver detailed her relationship with coach Don Candy in a first-person account published Wednesday by the Daily Telegraphsaying her main motivation was to let others know that abusive coaching relationships are still prevalent today.

She said that as a teenager, Candy guided her career to success, reaching the US Open final in 1978 as a 16-year-old amateur, eventually losing in straight sets to Chris Evert.

In 1979, she told Candy that she was in love with him. Candy, who died in 2020, was 50 years old at the time. Shriver was 17.

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“I still have conflicted feelings about Don,” Shriver said. “Yes, he and I became involved in a long and inappropriate affair. Yes, he was cheating on his wife. But there was a lot about him that was honest and authentic. And I loved him. Even so, he was the grown-up here. He should have been the trustworthy adult. In a different world, he would have found a way to keep things professional. Only after therapy did I start to feel a little less responsible. Now, at last, I’ve come to realize that what happened is on him. “

Shriver said that over the next five years “everything got blurry, when lines were crossed,” and the relationship got physical. She said they had intercourse when she was 20.

“But we did share rooms. We did virtually everything else that two people who are attracted to each other can do,” Shriver said.

Shriver, a 22-time Grand Slam doubles champion who is now a commentator on ESPN and the Tennis Channel, made it clear that Candy did not sexually abuse her, but said there was emotional abuse, which led to “my ongoing attraction to older men” and my difficulties in understanding how to maintain healthy boundaries. ”

Shriver also believes that the sport still has coach-player romantic relationships, which she says can be troubling and she has witnessed firsthand.

“Every time I hear about a player who is dating their coach, or I see a male physio working on a female body in the gym, it sets my alarm bells ringing,” Shriver said.

Shriver said she doesn’t have all the answers to address the problem but suggests that educating players before they hit puberty and educating coaches before they arrive on tour might help.

“The point has to be made very clearly: these kinds of relationships are not appropriate, and there will be consequences for those who cross the line,” she said. “But everyone must come together – the WTA, the ATP and the four grand slams – to improve tennis’ safeguarding practices.”

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