Tennis good Pam Shriver reveals she had ‘inappropriate’ romance with ‘much older’ coach as a teenager

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Intercontinental Tennis Hall of Famer and ESPN analyst Pam Shriver on Wednesday exposed she was in an “inappropriate and harming romance” with her “significantly more mature” mentor that began when she was 17, and he was 50.

Shriver talked about her marriage with coach Don Candy and the “painful and emotional journey” she underwent, in a first-particular person account published by the Day-to-day Telegraph.

Shriver said she was guided by Candy, who served as her mentor and chaperone when she commenced taking part in on the tour in 1978 at the age of 15. Under Candy, she arrived at the U.S. Open up remaining as a 16-yr-outdated novice, ultimately getting rid of in straight sets to Chris Evert. But in 1979, in the center of a tennis rough patch with no victories in 5 months, she told Candy that she was “slipping in really like,” with him — regardless of their 33-calendar year age gap. 

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Candy died in 2020 at the age of 91. 

NSW Women’s Tennis Open up at White Town Semifinals.Pam Shriver (R) and her coach Don Candy (L) hoping for rain to keep off till immediately after her match. December 5, 1980. 
(Picture by Antonin Cermak/Fairfax Media by means of Getty Images)

“I still have conflicted thoughts about Don. Sure, he and I grew to become included in a lengthy and inappropriate affair. Of course, he was dishonest on his spouse. But there was a good deal about him that was straightforward and authentic. And I loved him,” Shriver wrote. “Even so, he was the grown-up in this article. He need to have been the dependable adult. In a different world, he would have discovered a way to preserve items skilled. Only right after treatment did I commence to come to feel a little less dependable. Now, at last, I’ve come to realise that what occurred is on him.”

Above the subsequent 5 decades, Shriver explained “almost everything acquired blurry, when strains were crossed,” as the relationship commenced to get bodily. She said they experienced intercourse when she was 20. 

“We did share rooms. We did practically every little thing else that two individuals who are attracted to just about every other can do,” Shriver reported.

Shriver admitted that Sweet never abused her sexually, however she famous there was emotional abuse.

“I felt so numerous horrendous emotions and I felt so by itself,” she wrote. “The worst would be my anger and jealousy when his wife came to tournaments. In truth, Elaine was lovely. I will not think she ever understood what was going on. If she did, she saved it to herself. But each individual time she showed up, we had to absolutely flip the way we ended up coexisting.”


She explained the relationship with Sweet as a “traumatic encounter,” that impacted her means to form “standard” relationships immediately after the time they used collectively. 

American tennis player Pam Shriver at the Virginia Slims of Newport Tennis Tournament, Newport, Rhode Island, July 1987.

American tennis player Pam Shriver at the Virginia Slims of Newport Tennis Event, Newport, Rhode Island, July 1987.
(Image by Barbara Alper/Getty Images)

“Our affair shaped my total encounter of passionate everyday living. It stunted my capability to variety ordinary associations and set specified patterns which would recur: my ongoing attraction to more mature adult males and my problems in knowledge how to manage nutritious boundaries,” she included. 

Shriver, who gained 21 Grand Slam doubles titles around the program of her prolific tennis occupation, said she ended the marriage with Candy and commenced to appear at other coaches right after the 1984 time at the age of 22.

“I basically kept utilizing Don as a coaching expert, simply because he was so insightful about my recreation. But neither he nor I ever tried to rekindle anything – a mercy for which I’ll give credit score to both equally sides,” she wrote. 

Shriver stated she determined to speak out publicly this week to lose gentle on abusive coaching interactions in tennis, which she argues continue to “goes on – a lot.”

“I believe abusive coaching relationships are alarmingly common in sport as a complete. My unique skills, nevertheless, is in tennis, in which I have witnessed dozens of scenarios in my four-and-a-little bit decades as a participant and commentator. Just about every time I listen to about a player who is courting their coach, or I see a male physio functioning on a woman overall body in the health club, it sets my alarm bells ringing,” Shriver wrote. 

Pam Shriver attends day 5 of the 2016 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 2, 2016 in the Queens borough of New York City.

Pam Shriver attends working day 5 of the 2016 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 2, 2016 in the Queens borough of New York City.
(Image by Jean Catuffe/GC Photos)

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“This is a prevalent challenge and we need a broad-spectrum alliance if we’re likely to deal with it. A single of the most critical organisations is going to be the Worldwide Tennis Federation, due to the fact they organise the junior functions. But absolutely everyone need to appear with each other – the WTA, the ATP and the four grand slams – to strengthen tennis’ safeguarding techniques,” she additional. “My sensitivity to these concerns is only expanding as my a few little ones move into their late teens. I’d like to guard them and their contemporaries from the trauma of toxic relationships. And as a result from needing the type of remedy I went by means of previous 12 months.”

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