French people

Fiona Ferro’s former coach Pierre Bouteyre charged with rape and sexual assault

Pierre Bouteyre, the former coach of French tennis player Fiona Ferro, has been accused of raping and sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager, according to a report by Agence France-Presse.

Ferro, 25, is the No. 259 ranked player in the world and lost in the US Open qualifiers. She accused Bouteyre, 50, of rape and sexual assault between 2012 and 2015, when she would have been 15 to 18, her lawyer told AFP. Bouteyre traveled with Ferro and was his private trainer, his lawyer said.

According to the prosecutor in charge of the case, Bouteyre was charged with “rape of a minor by a person having authority over the victim” and “sexual assault on a minor over the age of 15 by a person having authority over the victim”.

Bouteyre’s lawyer told AFP he “acknowledges that the relationship occurred but denies any coercion”.

“It was a love story according to him,” said his lawyer.

ESPN tennis analyst Pam Shriver tweeted her support for Ferro and added, “The best way to improve protection is to tell our stories.”

Bouteyre is also the former coach of France’s Alize Cornet, who beat Katerina Siniakova in the second round of the US Open. Cornet, 32, defeated defending US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the first round. After her second-round win, Cornet was asked by L’Equipe about the charges.

“It’s far too serious a subject for me to dwell on during the tournament,” Cornet said in French. “It obviously means a lot to me, and maybe that’s one of the reasons why I don’t sleep very well at night. Obviously, I’m sending Fiona huge support, which I did by message because it is my friend. It’s terrible, for both of them and especially for Fiona. He’s been my coach for 10 years, so it’s not cool to hear about this stuff.”