Tennis insiders are
grappling with issues of sexual identity and biology
regarding an up-and-coming German star on the
Sarah Gronert, 22, was
born with both male and female genitalia but underwent surgery
to become female both legally and physically. However, some
coaches, players, and officials charge that she seems
unnaturally strong for a woman and speculate, based on her
birth condition, that she may benefit from a
higher-than-average distribution of male hormones --
and question whether she should therefore be allowed to compete
against women at all.
Schlomo Tzoref, who
coaches player Julia Glushko, told the New York
that Gronert has a clear advantage and should not be able to
compete against women.
"There is no girl
who can hit serves like that, not even Venus Williams," he
said. Gronert (ranked 619 by the Women's Tennis
Association) beat Glushko (ranked 325) and three other
opponents in a tournament in Ra'anana, Israel, a few weeks
ago. "This is not a woman, it's a man. She does not
have the power of a woman and no woman has such a
technique," he added.
According to her WTA
record, Gronert has played nine tournaments around the world
and has won two, including the Ra'anana tournament on March
2 and a January tournament in Kaarst, Germany.