At the start of 2009 the International Tennis Federation (ITF) was delighted to announce the appointment of Kathy Martin (right) in the new role of ITF Player Welfare Officer.
The appointment by the ITF is in response to the recognition of the importance of clear guidelines for National and Regional Associations to prevent sexual harassment and abuse of athletes in the sport of tennis.
In addition to communicating the need for programmes at national as well as international level, the brief of the Player Welfare Officer is to provide guidance on dealing with individual cases of harassment or abuse on a consistent basis and monitoring the implementation of Welfare Policies and procedures and evaluating the impact of the same.
Kathy Martin is a mental health counsellor and sports physiotherapist with expertise in adolescent health and welfare issues. She holds a Bachelors degree in Applied Science in Physiotherapy from Lincoln Institute Health Sciences in Melbourne (1984) and was awarded the Australian Physiotherapy Association Sports Physiotherapist title in 1999. She received her Bachelor Arts (1991) and Graduate Diploma in Adolescent Health & Welfare (2004) from Melbourne University and her Masters in Counselling from Monash University (2008).
“The work undertaken by Kathy in a variety of elite sporting environments over 25 years has clearly given her a unique insight into and an excellent understanding of the pressures faced by players competing across the many ITF Circuits. Kathy has over fifteen years experience as a Primary Health Care Provider for the WTA, which involved treating players and assisting with the development of educational programmes for the benefit of WTA players.
Her progression into the field of counselling makes her uniquely qualified to oversee the continued development and implementation of the Player Welfare Code of Practice for all ITF events and the establishment of a Player Welfare Policy and other relevant programmes among ITF National and Regional Associations. The ITF is very grateful to the WTA (Women's Tennis Association) for its cooperation in this instance and we are delighted to welcome Kathy as a part of our team.”
ITF President, Francesco Ricci Bitti
In addition, the ITF has launched a 24-hour counselling telephone helpline service, available in many languages, for the benefit of players at ITF events. While it is still hoped that a player will be able to turn in the first instance to a familiar and trusted source for advice and guidance, we recognise that this is not always possible and consider it vital that an emergency service is available for those in need.
For a slideshow presentation demonstrating the full services of the helpline please visit Achieve Solutions website
Supportive tips and articles for ITF Circuit players can be found at the Achieve Solutions website.