ESPN tennis pundit and Hall of Famer Pam Shriver on Wednesday made some shocking revelations about her personal life. The former doubles number 1 shared that she was in an inappropriate and harmful relationship with her then-trainer when she was only 17 years old.
Shriver also revealed that her relationship with her first trainer continued for five long years.
Shriver decided to share personal details of her life in an interview with The Telegraph. She revealed how these are very personal things in her life and things that she is not proud of but wanted to share to enlighten herself as she wants the current generation of players and coaching staff to be more aware of and maintain their professional boundaries.
“I think abusive coaching relationships are alarmingly common in sports in general,” Pam Shriver wrote in The Telegraph about her relationship with Don Candy.
“However, my particular experience is in tennis, where I have witnessed dozens of cases in my four decades as a player and commentator. Every time I hear about a player dating his coach, or see a male physio working on a woman’s body in the gym, alarm bells go off.”
The 59-year-old from Los Angeles was a metronome during her. Although she did not win a Grand Slam in singles, Pam Shriver was very competitive as she reached the highest ranking of No. 3 in the world. It was in doubles that she had her strength, as she won 121 doubles titles in her career, including Grand Slam titles.
Pam Shriver had an inappropriate relationship with her trainer Don Candy
Shriver began her career in 1978, at the age of 15 while traveling with Don Candy, who was her coach and also her tutor on tour. She won a whopping 21 Grand Slam titles between 1981 and 1991 with her partner Martina Navartilova.
Her relationship with Candy started when Shriver was just 17 years old and turned sexual when she turned 20, as revealed by Shriver. “It was during a time when it was really hard for me to have my first relationship,” Shriver told Jeremy Schaap in an OTL interview. “It never should have been with my coach and I just realized it’s time to talk about my story and hopefully make it easier for other people who have had similar stories as well.”
The Hall of Famer revealed that Candy never sexually abused her, but she definitely felt some emotional abuse. Her secret was gradually coming to light on the women’s professional tour. She also revealed how Candy was cheating on her wife with her. However, Shriver shared that she had genuine love and affection for Candy despite being 33 years older than her.
“I still have mixed feelings about Don,” Shriver added.
“Yes, he and I got into a long and inappropriate affair. Yes, he was cheating on his wife. But there was so much about him that was honest and authentic. And I loved him. Still, he was the adult here. He should have been a trustworthy adult. In a different world, he would have found a way to keep things professional. Only after therapy did I start to feel a little less responsible. Now, finally, I have realized that what happened is his fault.”
Shriver opened up to her father, but never really had the courage to tell her mother. It became very difficult for her to juggle a secret and also focus on her tennis, as she wanted to be her best. “And since she was she, you know, living life trying to be the best tennis player that she could be, she didn’t really understand how difficult the secrecy and juggling was. So I kept it to myself,” she revealed.
The 59-year-old shared how she didn’t know where to go or who to tell her secrets to. Only after she ended the relationship did she understand what she went through and what help she needed.
“I really didn’t know where to go and wasn’t sure how to ask for help. And it really wasn’t until a while later, when the relationship ended, that I realized how much help I needed at that point.”
Finally, she shared why it is important to reveal it, as it should give young tennis players and coaches an example of things not to indulge in and maintain a professional relationship while safeguarding everyone’s priority and peace of mind.
“I just feel like it’s time for me. I feel it is important for my healing. And it’s important that maybe I can feel that introducing myself and talking about my story in detail could help some young players. Maybe it will help coaches understand that they shouldn’t cross that line.” Shriver concluded.
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