"It happens right and left on the tour; if I had a daughter, I'd have a question would she want to play tennis, that would be a big concern" - Victoria Azarenka on the exploitation of young players by coaches

2013 BNP Paribas Open - Day 9
Victoria Azarenka touched on the issue of young players being exploited by their coaches on tour

Victoria Azarenka shed light on a not-often discussed subject on the WTA tour at her recent US Open press conference, speaking about how widespread the manipulation and exploitation of young players by their coaches is.

In light of tennis player Fiona Ferro coming out recently and revealing that she was raped by her former coach when she was a minor, Azarenka, as a member of the Player Council, was asked about her thoughts on the matter.

The former World No. 1 shocked reporters by declaring that, although not often reported, such incidents happened left and right on the WTA tour. At the same time, she assured them that the council was taking whatever possible steps to protect vulnerable youngsters from being taken advantage of.

"It's a very sensitive subject, because, you know, you won't hear those stories unless players come out and tell those stories. It happens right and left on the tour, which is unfortunate. Our job is to be better at safeguarding," Victoria Azarenka said. "You know, as player council, it's almost like No. 1 subject, you know, to us. Because we see those vulnerable young ladies that getting taken advantage of in different situations."

While the 33-year-old admitted that she was unsure of how often these things happen on the men's tour, she revealed that she would be very concerned if she had a daughter who was looking to turn pro.

"It's really sad and really makes me emotional, because, you know, I have a son that I don't see, you know, that happens so much on the men's tour," Victoria Azarenka said. "And if I had a daughter, I would have a question of would she want to play tennis, that would be a very big concern in that way for me."

The Belarusian went on to applaud Ferro for being brave and coming out with her story and hoped she could come out of this incident stronger, especially without developing a hatred for the sport that would be completely understandable.

"So, you know, just recent story with Fiona Ferro that came out. I mean, I don't know how to put it in words sometimes. All you can do is, like, check in on the person and kind of give your hand what I can do, what I can help with," Victoria Azarenka said. "I applaud her for being brave. I hope this situation she's gonna come out of it stronger and tennis is not ruined for her because of that. That's I think very, very heavy topic."

"It's the topic that has to come out more; we can, hopefully one by one, try to eliminate that type of situations" - Victoria Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka hoped such cases of coach exploitation can be eliminated from the WTA Tour soon
Victoria Azarenka hoped such cases of coach exploitation can be eliminated from the WTA Tour soon

Victoria Azarenka further added to members of the press that they too played a big role in preventing such incidents, not just by exposing them to the public but also by doing the necessary research and helping players open up about any misbehavior from their coaches.

One by one, the Belarusian hoped, such cases could be eliminated from the WTA tour in the years to come.

"It's the topic that has to come out more, and I think it's your guys' job also, to not just expose it, because it sounds like, you know, it sounds pretty weird when I say that, but also to do the research, help people to open up more. You know, we can, hopefully one by one try, to eliminate that type of situations," Azarenka said.

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Edited by Anirudh
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