German Female Tennis Pro, Born a Hermaphrodite, Under Scrutiny
Posted on March 14, 2009
Sarah Gronert, a 22-year-old pro from Germany, finds herself under scrutiny from her opponents and their coaches, who believe that a unique gender issue from birth should make her ineligible for the woman's tour.
Three years ago, those issues almost caused Gronert, ranked No. 619 in the world, to abandon her career. Though she has since returned to competitive tennis, the dialogue that continues to surround her relates not to her ability, but to her biology.
Gronert was born with male and female genitalia. After undergoing surgery, she's now medically certified as a woman. That's not good enough for some, though.
"There is no girl who can hit serves like that, not even Venus Williams," said Schlomo Tzoref, the coach of Julia Glushko, who Gronert recently beat on her way to winning the Raanana tournament in Israel in early March. "When I heard her story, I was in shock. I don't know if it's fair that she can compete or not. She does have an advantage, but if this is what the WTA have decided, they probably know best. If she begins to play continuously, within six months she will be within the Top 50." Tennis.Fanhouse.com (3/13).