Tennis legend Pam Shriver slams the sport for failing to protect female players after the Don Candy affair

Twenty-two-time grand slam champion Pam Shriver has criticized tennis for not protecting female players from their older male coaches — something she knows more about than anyone.

The 60-year-old doubles legend, who is now a prominent coach and broadcaster, revealed last year that she had begun a five-year relationship with her coach Don Candy when he was 50 and she was 17.

At the time, she called on WTA Tour authorities to be much more protective of their players, both personally and professionally – and she has criticized the sport for not improving much since then.

US tennis great Pam Shriver, who is now a prominent broadcaster and coach, has called for the game to improve the protection of vulnerable female players from their older male coaches

American tennis great Pam Shriver, who is now a prominent broadcaster and coach, has called for the game to improve the protection of vulnerable female players from their older male coaches

Shriver revealed last year that she had a five-year affair with her married coach Don Candy (pictured together in 1982), which began when she was 17 and he was 50.

Shriver revealed last year that she had a five-year affair with her married coach Don Candy (pictured together in 1982), which began when she was 17 and he was 50.

Shriver revealed last year that she had a five-year affair with her married coach Don Candy (pictured together in 1982), which began when she was 17 and he was 50.

‘I don’t know if she [WTA] are already in,” said Shriver, who is at the Australian Open to coach Croatian star Donna Vekic The age.

“After watching so many generations of female players struggle with the same thing, I really want female players to have more say in the separation of their personal lives and their professional lives.

“I’d like to see the four majors, who have a combined 12 key weeks on the calendar, step forward and become better leaders in this thing. I think there are real opportunities to penetrate.’

Shriver, who won seven Australian Open doubles titles in an outstanding 18-year career, revealed her relationship with Candy last year after a long period of reflection and therapy during Covid.

The American turned pro at just 15 years old, traveling with the now-deceased Candy, who was both her coach and chaperone.

She said the relationship had a huge impact on the rest of her life, and authorities should never have allowed the married coach, who died aged 91 in 2020, to be with her.

Shriver said she shared her story in hopes that current female players don’t fall into the same trap.

Pam Shriver, pictured with coach Don Candy in 1980, said their affair was inappropriate and hopes current female players don't fall into the same trap as older male coaches

Pam Shriver, pictured with coach Don Candy in 1980, said their affair was inappropriate and hopes current female players don't fall into the same trap as older male coaches

Pam Shriver, pictured with coach Don Candy in 1980, said their affair was inappropriate and hopes current female players don’t fall into the same trap as older male coaches

“It should never have been with my coach and…I just realized it’s time to talk about my story and hopefully make it easier for other people who have also had similar stories,” she shared The Telegraph last year.

“I still have conflicting feelings about Don. Yes, he and I got involved in a long and inappropriate affair. Yes, he cheated on his wife.

“But there was a lot about him that was honest and authentic. And I loved him. Yet he was the adult here. He should have been the reliable adult.

“In another world, he would have found a way to keep it professional. It wasn’t until after therapy that I started to feel a little less responsible. Now, finally, I’ve come to realize that what happened is his fault,” Shriver said.

Pam Shriver won 22 grand slam doubles titles in an 18-year career

Pam Shriver won 22 grand slam doubles titles in an 18-year career

Pam Shriver won 22 grand slam doubles titles in an 18-year career

The WTA has certainly tried to make sure the situation doesn’t repeat itself, though Shriver said the jury is still out.

American sports attorney Lindsay Brandon is now the tour’s Director of Safeguarding and is responsible for designing and implementing plans that help players and coaches maintain professional boundaries.

Tennis Australia also launched its own effort, called ‘A Safer Game Plan’, which teaches coaches how to protect minors. They also have a 24-hour telephone reporting service.

But is it enough?

Player-coach relationships still continue.

Former Australian Open finalist Petra Kvitova got engaged to her old coach Jiri Vanek last year. He is 12 years older than her.

Petra Kvitova got engaged to her coach, Jiri Vanek, last year.  The former top player proposed to his Czech compatriot at Wimbledon and they have been in a relationship since August 2021.

Petra Kvitova got engaged to her coach, Jiri Vanek, last year.  The former top player proposed to his Czech compatriot at Wimbledon and they have been in a relationship since August 2021.

Petra Kvitova got engaged to her coach, Jiri Vanek, last year. The former top player proposed to his Czech compatriot at Wimbledon and they have been in a relationship since August 2021.

Ninth-seeded Veronika Kudermetova, who recently dropped out in the second round, has been married to her coach, Sergey Demekhin, for five years.

The couple’s coach-player relationship began when she was 15 and he was nearly 30.

Coach Pierre Bouteyre was accused of raping and sexually assaulting French star Fiona Ferro when she was 15-18 years old, and he was in his 40s.

He traveled with her on the WTA Tour, but says their “sexual relationship” was mutual.

French star Fiona Ferro said her former coach, Pierre Bouteyre, raped and sexually assaulted her when she was 15-18

French star Fiona Ferro said her former coach, Pierre Bouteyre, raped and sexually assaulted her when she was 15-18

French star Fiona Ferro said her former coach, Pierre Bouteyre, raped and sexually assaulted her when she was 15-18

Candy, an Australian player turned coach who saw most of his success in doubles – winning the French Open in 1956 – was 33 years Shriver’s senior when they were in a relationship.

It started when she was 17 and turned sexual when she was 20 – and in retrospect, Shriver now realizes she needed help.

“I really didn’t know where to go and I wasn’t sure how to ask for help. And it wasn’t until some time later, like really once the relationship was over, that I realized how much help I needed at the time,” she shared. ESPN of the affair.

“And it’s important that maybe I can feel that if I come forward and tell my story in detail, maybe I can help some young players.

“Maybe it will help coaches understand not to cross that line.”

Pam Shriver wants to make sure what happened to her as a player doesn't happen to current stars

Pam Shriver wants to make sure what happened to her as a player doesn't happen to current stars

Pam Shriver wants to make sure what happened to her as a player doesn’t happen to current stars

It was a revelation that shocked Candy’s family. The portrait of the Aussie is still on display in Kooyong, and Shriver said she waited until both he and her own parents were dead before revealing details of the affair.

Two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka agrees with Shriver that it’s a problem plaguing women’s tennis.

“We see those vulnerable young ladies being exploited in different situations,” the WTA players’ council member said at the US Open last year.

It is clearly a matter of paramount importance to Shriver.

She is a supporter of U.S. President Joe Biden’s Women’s Sports Policy Working Group and an ambassador for Up2Us Sports, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting underprivileged youth by providing them with coaches trained in positive youth development.

For now, she’s keeping an eye on every female player on tour. After all, she knows the subtle signs of an inappropriate relationship.

Shriver will be in the penalty area at Melbourne Park on Monday, as Vekic will look to secure a place in the quarter-finals when she takes on Linda Fruhvirtova at Margaret Court Arena.

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