The images are chilling. In a video shared on social networks by the Serbian Igor Juric, former football player and activist for children’s rights, we can see a young tennis player, on a clay court, beaten up by her father and coach. Kicks, slaps, hair pulling… The acts of violence follow one another, including when the 14-year-old player finds herself lying on the ground.
Igor Juric explains in his tweet that the victim is from China and that the scene occurred on a court located in Belgrade. He also announces that he has filed a complaint. The Serbian press seized on the case and reports that the father, aged 50, was arrested by the police and placed in custody for domestic violence. An investigation is underway and the prosecutor has communicated some elements of the attacker’s defence: he would have justified his actions by the fact that his daughter “refused to continue training” and “did not intend to hurt him, that it is a tradition in China to respect the hierarchy. He thinks he acted correctly because it is allowed in China”. At the end of the hearing, continued custody was proposed to the court.
The significant distribution of the video, especially on Twitter, led several players in the world of tennis to react. ” It’s horrible “, released Stanislas Wawrinka, former world number three and winner of Roland Garros in 2015, while Fernando Verdasco showed his sadness. Pam Shriver, a former doubles specialist in the 1980s and 1990s, also reacted: “It’s abuse (worse than bullying) and it has no place in tennis or any sport. »
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Patrick Mouratoglou, former coach of Serena Williams and consultant for Prime Videojudges a situation “absolutely unacceptable. Horrible. No other word. We must eradicate all forms of child abuse, whether physical or psychological. It affects all sectors of our civil society. Not just tennis. Let’s think about how we can eradicate it in our sport. »
Words that echo those of Daria Saville, Russian-Australian, 55th player in the world: “This girl is going to be broken forever. If you think someone is being physically or mentally abused, support them and encourage them to talk to someone who can help. Offer to help them find a local domestic violence agency or offer to go to the police. »
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