Again shocking statements that leave open many reflections on the world of referees in tennis. Telegraph’s in-depth investigation has shed light on several stories of abuse occurring in sport that no one denounces, thanks to the invaluable testimony of former chair judge Tamara Vrhovec.
The woman immediately talked about how the whole system should change: “There must be a revolution from above. They have no one to turn to and they cannot speak to the media. When something scandalous happens, something that happens very often, very few they decide to speak out because they are afraid that everything will turn against them.
They could lose their jobs forever and the person in power could stay. This is what happened to me with Officer X (a senior official who left the firm, whom he preferred not to mention): there have been some previous allegations against him that have never been addressed. This has discouraged people from even trying to talk about their cases.”
The shocking revelation
The Croatian woman then began to tell: “Called me in the office and said: Off the court you have to be less se*ual. I went without makeup or jewelry. I had no idea what he wanted from me. She always talked a lot in the judges about who she slept with whom, but overall I was seen as a tough girl. Someone the kids didn’t dare get close to. That’s why the too se*ual comment was so weird.”
On the different abuses she suffered: “There were a couple of men who approached me and were hoping to get something, because they were older than me. One of them stopped working, the other was recently promoted to a senior position, although everyone knows that he is a predator and has never bothered to hide it. I remember he came up behind me and touched my butt once at the Roland Garros. Later had a public discussion with another chair referee: when I sided with him, he got mad at me. Luckily, he never touched me again.”
She then concluded: “Being a chair referee is very difficult in personal life. A lot of people suggested that I take legal action but I didn’t want to go through with it. It’s something from the past that I don’t think about anymore. I think I have to speak now for those who are still in the system and do not have the opportunity to do so.”