21-time doubles Grand Slam champion Pam Shriver has called for the ATP and WTA Tours to implement safeguarding education to ensure players do not have inappropriate relationships with coaches.
Shriver personally experienced a toxic player-coach equation. She revealed last year that she was in a five-year-long ‘inappropriate’ relationship with former coach Don Candy. She stated that it started when she was only 17 years old, while Candy was 50.
Speaking on the latest episode of The Craig Shapiro Tennis Podcast, the former doubles World No. 1 explained that tennis players have an atypical work atmosphere, where they might find themselves manipulated by those in charge.
“When you think about our workplace, it is a workplace that’s different from most, right? Because it’s traveling, it’s staying in hotels, it’s extremely stressful,” she stated.
“It’s a lot of times when we’re very young and they can be placed in a position where things start to get manipulated and they get groomed towards… All of a sudden they find themselves where the boundary is being crossed. And there’s no longer just the professional part happening of trying to get the athlete to be a better tennis player,” she added.
Shriver, the 1988 Olympic doubles gold medalist, stressed on the need for everyone to educate themselves and keep all working relationships strictly professional.
“It’s complicated but the young players need education, parents need to be educated and they certainly needs to be a lot of safeguarding education for anyone on any teams. That it is better for your player to just keep it professional and I believe that 100%.”