16 years old Romanian tennis player Andrada Ioana Surdeanu was slapped by her father at an ITF event in Israel because she lost a match, according to reports.
After she was defeated in the quarterfinals, Andrada had an argument with her father. Mr. Surdeanu lost his temper and hit her, causing her a nosebleed. The girl was taken into health care by the tournament’s doctor. Later on, her father was taken into custody from the hotel by the Israeli police.
After the story has spread in the Romanian press on Monday night, Andrada denied some of the rumors on her Facebook page:
“My father is not a beast, he didn’t break my nose, I didn’t have my face covered in blood. It’s true, he slapped me once. So what? I deserved it. It was my fault because I’ve yelled and said some words to him. I was irresponsible after all the sacrifices he made for me. I admit that I was scared in that moment, but I know he regrets what he did and he loves me as much as I do. He exaggerated a little, but he didn’t deserve to be arrested. I hope we will get home soon. I’m worried for him. I want to continue this journey in tennis with the support of the whole family.
Please understand, or at least try… it’s extremely difficult for me to wake up in the morning knowing that my father is not at home. Please believe me, everything was a mistake. Nobody says that he didn’t do anything wrong, but he doesn’t deserve to be treated like this. I want my father back because I love him.”
Tuesday, she gave more details about what happened in an interview for ProSport:
Reporter: Hello, Andrada. How are you feeling?
Andrada: I don’t know… now I’m coming back from high school. I feel more calm, I saw my mother yesterday, I took her in my arms and I felt safe. I didn’t talk at all with my father and this destroys me. When I read that he is described as a ‘criminal’ and ‘beast’, I feel like I want to scream. I feel guilty for what is happening even if I know it’s not only my fault.
R: What happened after the match?
A: I didn’t play well in that match. At the end, he asked me to give him my phone. This is his way to punish me when is my fault and I don’t win matches. I told him “Take it!” and I threw the phone. Of course he didn’t catch it, but he got angry because of the way I’ve behaved. He pushed me and slapped me twice. One of the slaps hit my nose. Me and my brother… we are sensitive and at the minimum contact our nose is bleeding. I sat down on my knees, put my hands on the face so he won’t be able to hit me again. I had little blood, I was scared and shaking. He gave me a wet towel and said that I should go to the tournament’s doctor. When I came back, he was already kicked out from the tennis court and they told me he was sent to the hotel.
R: How was he taken into custody from the hotel?
A: By the time I got at the hotel, they’ve already took him. The umpires took me to the police station. On our way, we stopped near a police car. It had bars on the back seat and when I looked better, I recognized my father. Do you realize how it is to see your father arrested? (starts crying). At the police station they didn’t let me see him, like he was a mad dog and I had to stay away from him. They put me to give a statement. The umpire translated for me from Hebrew to English. I was told that he will stay in custody only for one night, to calm down, that everything is gonna be fine and we could return to Romania on Sunday, when we had plane tickets. This is what I’ve signed for. I didn’t realize what I’m doing. I trusted them and… my father is still in the prison. They’ve took him 40 km away from the city. We are trying everything possible to bring him home.
R: Did he hit you before? It was the first time?
A: We have arguments in training, but that’s all. He didn’t hit me before, this is the first time. Now he has restrictions and is no longer allowed to go with me to the tournaments. With whom should I go now? How can I become Simona Halep? I play tennis for 10 years and I have the feeling that this episode is going to follow me for the rest of my life. Maybe I want to go to a tennis academy in the United States, to play there. But who will accept me if they know I was hit by my father?
R: Do you sleep at night? How did your life changed?
A: In that night I couldn’t close my eyes. I was just remembering the image of my father in the police car. The next day, I had a doubles match, but I retired after a few games. I was shaking, I was looking on the sidelines for my father like I used to. I barely sleep four hours in total. Today the high school director called me and I went to make a statement. I’m very, very tired.
R: Your brother, Vlad, he plays tennis too. Have you told him what happened?
A: On Monday was his birthday. He’s nine years old (starts crying again). He said he wants to be happy, to be with daddy. I’m sorry, I can’t… I know other parents who beat their children, who rip their tracksuits if they lose a match. And my father… it’s too much what’s happening to him. I’m not saying it is okay to hit me, I don’t want to be misunderstood. I love him very much and I want him back home.
Yesterday the court from Israel gave the verdict for Mr. Surdeanu. Andrada’s father will pay a €300 fine and will be released today.
The story made the front page of today’s Gazeta Sporturilor: “Daddy Boom”:
In the same newspaper, Andrada’s mother told what she’s going through:
Reporter: Mrs. Surdeanu, do you have news from your husband?
Mrs. Surdeanu: I know the hearing took place, my husband pleaded guilty and will pay a €300 fine. Plus the seven days of arrest. I don’t know why it took so long. It’s good that it’s over and I hope to resume our normal life. When I’ve found out, I was desperate and didn’t know what to do. Luckily the Romanian authorities helped us, the consul was in touch with my husband and offered support. I was hoping that everything will end after a night, but it wasn’t like that. I was afraid that my daughter will be retained in Israel for a trial. I wanted, above all, to see my daughter at home.
R: Have you talked with your husband?
S: It’s been almost a week since I haven’t talk to him. It’s regrettable that he lost his temper, but it’s not normal that I couldn’t hear his voice. I don’t want to think what he’s going through.
R: Did he hit Andrada before?
S: This is the first time. There were arguments before because they’re both temperamental. Andrada wants to succeed very much, and when her game is bad, she’s getting angry. Emotions and adrenaline make this tense moments to occur. Therefore, a year and a half ago, my husband took her to another coach. But they’ve always been a team, they were telling each other everything. We did everything for her, to fulfill her dream.
R: How is Andrada feeling?
S: Guilty, even if it’s my husband fault because he lost his temper. She loves her a lot and made a lot of sacrifices. He did everything for Andrada to succeed in tennis since she was 5 years old. When he ended his career as a military pilot, he went to the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport to be able to coach her as good as he can. He went with her at the tournaments and took care of the financial side. Nobody helps us, the parents players are the ones who invest in tennis.
R: After her father was arrested, did someone gave Andrada some advices?
S: The organizers didn’t understand the emotional impact. They we’re saying that the prisons from Israel are like hotels. Even more, they’ve offered her a wild card at another tournament in Tel Aviv, which takes place this week. I told her to come home as soon as possible. When she was at the police station, she heard around her Jelena Dokic’s name and she didn’t understand why. She tried to explain that it was just an incident. The image with her father in the police car will remain in her mind. She’s suffering. Me too, as a mother, and as a wife.