Jury Returns $9 Million Sexual Assault Verdict Against USTA

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) has been ordered by a jury to pay $9 million in damages to tennis player Kylie McKenzie after a court determined that the organization failed to prevent her from being sexually assaulted by her coach.

Kylie McKenzie, a 25-year-old American tennis player, initiated her lawsuit in March 2022 in the US District Court in Orlando, Florida. She filed against both the USTA and USTA Player Development Incorporated, alleging that her former coach, Anibal Aranda, employed by the organization at the time, had committed sexual assault and battery against her.

Accusations also included the USTA’s gross negligence in employing and inadequately supervising Coach Aranda, despite his known history of sexual predation, which the lawsuit contended constituted a conscious disregard or indifference to McKenzie’s life, safety, or rights.

In a 2022 press conference, McKenzie disclosed the detrimental impact of the incident on her court performances, citing anxiety, panic attacks, and depression as direct consequences of Aranda’s actions.

“My confidence and self-esteem were obliterated, both on and off the court,” McKenzie stated.

The recent jury verdict awarded McKenzie $3 million in compensatory damages and an additional $6 million in punitive damages.

McKenzie’s attorney, Robert Allard, condemned the USTA’s handling of the case, asserting their failure to comprehend the gravity of the situation.

“I firmly believe that genuine change at USTA necessitates a complete overhaul of leadership, from the CEO down to their legal representatives,” Allard emphasized. “Given the gravity of the situation, I am committed to pursuing this until it’s achieved.”

McKenzie expressed satisfaction with the verdict, stating, “I feel vindicated. It was incredibly challenging, but now I believe it was all worthwhile. I hope my experience encourages other girls to speak out, even when it’s tough.”

McKenzie, previously regarded as a rising star in US tennis, relocated to the USTA’s Orlando facility at the age of 19. Subsequently, Aranda assumed coaching duties. Allegations surfaced that Aranda made remarks about McKenzie’s physical appearance, delved into her personal life, and engaged in inappropriate physical contact.

In October 2018, Aranda allegedly positioned himself closely behind McKenzie during a serving drill, pressing his body against hers and grabbing her hips. The lawsuit detailed instances where Aranda’s actions escalated, with his fingers moving lower down her groin and underwear line during serve repetitions.

In November 2018, McKenzie alleged that Aranda placed his hand on her thigh at the conclusion of a practice session, subsequently sliding his hand under a towel on her lap and rubbing her groin over her clothing.

Following McKenzie’s report of the incident, an investigation was launched by the US Center for SafeSport, an independent non-profit organization tasked with safeguarding athletes from abuse. The investigation uncovered prior instances of misconduct by Aranda, including groping an employee during a night out in New York in 2015. Despite the investigation’s findings, the employee did not report the incident at the time. Aranda was terminated by the USTA upon conclusion of the investigation, having been employed by the organization for seven years.


A jury awards $9 million to a player who sued the US Tennis Association over sexual abuse by a coach

Tennis prodigy Kylie McKenzie wins $9 million sexual assault lawsuit against USTA

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