French tennis star Margery Martel disappears after alleged assault

The turmoil has shone a spotlight on her recent career and recent controversial comments

One of the most influential voices in the international tennis world has vanished from public view after allegedly being involved in an assault by a fellow high-profile China tennis star who continues to deny the accusations.

Margery Martel, a 24-year-old French player who was ranked outside the top 500 two weeks ago, has been out of public contact since an alleged assault on 6 May in an Argentinian hotel room, according to ESPN.

The American Martel’s last tweet – posted two weeks before her disappearance – was a photo of herself in a sequined crown and costumes that she wrote were an “inaugural look”.

Martel was first implicated in the alleged incident by a pro tennis player in Argentina who shared photos of the alleged incident on her Instagram page. The Argentinian player, Eudy Ornagood, claimed that she had been sexually assaulted by a female player in an Argentinian hotel room. She also said that the alleged incident had been taken to a number of tennis authorities who had no jurisdiction in Argentina.

Eudy Ornagood (@EudyOrnagood) I decided to post these pictures to show you that there are people outside tennis who are not at all ashamed to talk about this. In fact, I’m glad you guys saw them because they help me get clarity with regard to what happened to me in this hotel room, and how no one wants to believe me when I say things happen in this world.

Martel’s deleted tweets showed a picture of herself at the Olympics in her accented French, surrounded by sets of dresses, and opening her Instagram page.

There has been no word from Tennis Australia or the International Tennis Federation, which came into being after the 2016 “metaphysic forcefield” courtstorm against men’s players over sexism.

Martel has spoken often in recent years about her desire to reach the top of the women’s game. But she has always struck a common stance with the men, defending her country’s decision to not allow players from other nationalities to compete.

“I don’t think she has played particularly well this year and considering her record on the WTA Tour, there are fewer opportunities for her to get a wildcard into a playoff for the world ranking points,” Tennis Australia chief James Connor told News Corp Australia on Monday.

[Martel’s] personal brand has been damaged far more by her own atrocious behaviour, so the stronger brand is Karen Khachanov – late, brash, aggressive but brilliant – and nobody will question that Mark Hodgkinson

The Argentine news site Ole obtained a copy of an email exchange between Martel and representatives of the International Association of Golf Professionals, asking them to get in touch and voice their support for her. Her work for the ITF included coaching young female players.

After Martel lost a first-round match at the French Open in early May, she allegedly threatened her former coach and spoke in vague reference to a “new” relationship on Facebook.

She tweeted her problems with her former coach, Daniel Kolokoln, a married father, on 1 May. Then two days later she threatened to expose her alleged victim by speaking to journalists, calling her “beyond the pale” in a string of comments.

Tennis Canada chief Nick Saviano, a former tennis player, publicly apologised to her this week and said Tennis Canada had re-emphasized the importance of “standing up to bullies”.

Credited with resuscitating the career of highly touted Dutch tennis player Arantxa Rus, who by virtue of her win at the 2012 French Open held the biggest prize in women’s tennis until Serena Williams took over in 2014, Saviano reportedly helped bring Martel into Tennis Canada’s fold.

“The sheath of secrecy that hides her has been pulled away …that allows it to be that much more difficult to put her back together again and fully transform her life and career into something where she can be extremely happy,” according to Hodkinson.

“The last few weeks have taken her from being the most valuable asset the ITF in Canada had, to being cast into the shadows with the support of a tennis federation that is no longer well positioned to champion her dreams.”

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