Tennis: Swiatek speaks out over Polish tennis chief abuse claims

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek took to Twitter to demand action. PHOTO: AFP

WARSAW – World No. 1 Iga Swiatek spoke out on Tuesday after sexual harassment accusations against Poland’s tennis federation president Miroslaw Skrzypczynski.

On Monday, Polish parliamentarian Katarzyna Kotula told the media she had suffered abuse as a young teenager by Skrzypczynski, her then coach.

Swiatek, the reigning US and French Open champion, took to Twitter to demand action in a lengthy post.

“As current leader of women’s tennis I can’t remain silent,” the 21-year-old, who won eight titles in 2022 and dominated the women’s tour, wrote. “I consider the reports involving the Polish Tennis Association’s president as something serious.

“We need to think about them (the victims) first of all,” she said, listing helplines for those seeking advice. “I’m against violence in sports, in tennis, in every discipline and in everyday life.”

She urged the federation “to find out what went on” and added: “It’s not my job to do the work of the association’s directors or reporters as the case is too serious involving the lives and well-being of others.”

She thanked her father for having protected her during her youth career, adding that she had never been a victim of abuse. She said: “I have an amazing team, safety and currently I’m really privileged but I’m aware that not every athlete could have the same independence.”

Compatriot and men’s player Hubert Hurkacz, 25, also issued a statement, opposing the abuse of power by coaches or guardians of players and asking officials to take steps.

“I hope the appropriate authorities will react,” said the world No. 10.

Kotula, a former junior player, described Skrzypczynski as a “sexual predator”. She said he had molested her “at least a dozen times in three years” when she was attached to a club in the north-east of Poland in the 1990s.

She suggested that she was not the only one to be abused by Skrzypczynski, who described the allegations in Polish as “unfounded”, according to the country’s national press. AFP

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.