A Tennis Coach Is a Reluctant Passenger on the Road

Within two years, her appetite for the sport had returned. She returned to the tour and continued to study. She would not crack the top 200 again or reach the WTA Tour level, but she found herself enjoying tennis more than ever as part of a balanced life.

Then came the violent episode in 2011. At a small tournament in Versmold, Germany, Tamaela was watching her friend Danielle Harmsen compete in a qualifying match against Karen Barbat. With Harmsen up a break at 4-2 in the first set, Barbat’s father, Mihai, became enraged.


Tamaela reached a career-high ranking of No. 129 in 2007, but she grew tired of the grind and left the tour later that year at age 23.

Bay Ismoyo/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

He screamed racial insults at Tamaela, whose father was born in the Netherlands to immigrants from the Maluku Islands in Indonesia, and struck her in her temple. She collapsed to the ground and was unconscious for several minutes.

“He started talking to me and I didn’t even know what was happening,” Tamaela said.

When she regained consciousness, she went to a…

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