It has been over three decades since Renee Richards became the first transsexual in professional tennis. However, a Chilean transsexual called Andrea Paredes von Roth made her debut in Buenos Aires in a Futures tournament at the age of 37 yesterday.
Even though Ms von Roth was thrashed 6-0 6-0 by British qualifier, Nicola Slater, she told the Clarin newspaper: “It’s a dream come true for me.”
Ms von Roth was born July 4, 1971 as Ernesto Paredes but underwent a sex-change operation in October 2009.
Her entry into professional tennis was not easy and she was initially refused by the Chilean women’s tour in 1975. After years of struggle, she was finally permitted by the International Tennis Federation to play in Buenos Aires this week.
Ms von Roth said: “Here in Spain I’ve been treated very well, better than in my country. They treat the issue more normally. I am proud to be the second transsexual tennis player after Richards.
“At the International Tennis Federation (ITF) they were very open and they authorised me in November, after several tests.
“I am 37, but biologically it is as if I were 27. I think at this time any ideas about age are obsolete.
“I took the match calmly; as it’s the start of my career. I worked hard in silence for two years.”
Pablo Jastrzebski, the director of the tournament, told the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio: “The wild card was given by the venue of the tournament, not me.
“We have not asked any question nor questioned about her age. If the ITF authorise her, she plays.
“I don’t find any peculiar thing in this situation, but it seems the media do, or maybe they need something to turn the attention to. She has the right to play and that’s all.”