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.
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…