Fiona Ferro has accused her former coach of rape and sexual assault, when she was still a teenager.
As reported by AFP, the 25-year-old French player has accused Pierre Bouteyre of committing the acts between 2012 and 2015.
Bouteyre was Ferro’s private coach and accompanied her during tournaments which often took place abroad, her lawyer said.
— Fiona Ferro (@fioferro) September 2, 2022
Bouteyre has been charged, in France, with “rape of a minor by a person having authority over the victim” and “sexual assault of a minor over the age of 15 by a person having authority over the victim”, prosecutor Patrice Camberou told AFP.
According to Bouteyre’s lawyer, the 50-year-old, “recognizes the relationship occurred but denies any coercion, it was a love story according to him.”
On Friday, the two-time WTA champion refuted Bouteyre’s claims, stating in a translation, “I confirm that I was not consenting.”
Prior to Ferro, Bouteyre worked with Alizé Cornet for 10 years.
According to L’Equipe, Cornet said she has been called to testify as a witness.
“Courage to Fiona,” Cornet said.
“We are with her, we love her and all the girls in the locker room think of her very much.”
Belgian-born Ferro has won two WTA titles and reached a career-high ranking of 39th in March 2021, but has now slipped to 259th.
Ferro’s case is not an isolated event when it comes to exploitation of young players by their coaches.
Earlier this year, former doubles world No. 1 Pam Shriver broke her silence about being involved in an inappropriate sexual relationship with her former coach when she was 17. He was 33 years her senior.
“It happens right and left on the tour, which is unfortunate,” two-time major champion Victoria Azarenka said on the subject.
“It’s a very sensitive subject, because you won’t hear those stories unless players come out and tell those stories.”
“I applaud her for being brave,” Azarenka said of Ferro.
“I hope this situation, she’s gonna come out of it stronger and tennis is not ruined for her because of that.