© Bar Refaeli

Bar Refaeli

On tennis's front line with London's yummy mummies


It’s not uncommon for tennis players to have affairs with the mothers of the children they teach. It happens. In fact, it happens much more than you might think. One mother once told me that two common female fantasies are the tennis coach and the hairdresser. She said that it isn’t always so easy finding a hairdresser who is straight. So that leaves the tennis coach. People like me.

One mum said that she initially took an interest in me as it was a way of passing the time – otherwise she would have had to have spent an hour actually watching her kids playing tennis.

Here are some stories I can share with you. There are plenty of others I can’t (this is a family publication). Some mothers are very open about what they want from their child’s tennis coach. I recall one kept on saying to me at the end of lessons, ‘my husband is away’. She always made a point of telling me that he was away on a business trip. She obviously became fed up with me not taking the hint, as after one lesson, with her child just out of earshot, she said to me: ‘Don’t you understand what I’m trying to say to you?’ And then she invited me to have a sauna with her that afternoon.

Many of the more glamorous mothers jokingly refer to themselves as yummy mummies, and joke and flirt with me before and after lessons. Last summer, I was standing by the courts, talking to a couple of mums, and one of them said, ‘aren’t you lucky, getting asked for your number by a couple of yummy mummies’. They said they wanted my number to organise lessons for children, but the implication was clear.

There was another mother who, during a week-long coaching course, turned up each day with a more revealing outfit than the day before. It got embarrassing, especially when she came up to me on the final day, after walking past the other mums, and gave me a kiss.

One coach I know was fired from the club where he worked, as he was caught showing a video that he shouldn’t have done. His mistake was that one of the people he showed was his boss at the club. His boss ended up saying to all the coaches at the club, ‘I don’t care what you do with the mothers in your own time, just don’t speak to the other mothers about it, or the other coaches, and especially not to the kids’.

It’s not just the mothers, as in the area of London where I teach, it’s often the nannies who bring the kids to the lessons. Recently, one nanny has been sending me naked pictures of herself to my mobile phone.