The German Tennis Association (DTB) has asked its Vice President Dirk Hordorff to resign. In a public statement, the DTB writes that the Presidium asked Hordorff “immediately after the results of the investigation became known, to let his office rest.” However, he has so far “not complied with” a request to resign.
Had last Thursday Southgerman newspaper, NDR and “Sportschau” published research according to which Dirk Hordorff repeatedly sexually harassed players whom he looked after as manager or coach in at least two cases. These are the Indian tennis pro Sriram Balaji, who is still active on the ATP tour today, and the former young professional Maximilian Abel. In an interview with SZ, NDR and “Sportschau”, both described their experiences comprehensively. Other victims who wish to remain anonymous report similar things.
The DTB commissioned a law firm to conduct an internal investigation last summer after Maximilian Abel himself disclosed the allegations to the association in a letter from February 2022. The association announced last Thursday that the investigation came to the conclusion “that the allegation of misconduct cannot be proven with certainty”.
After Hordorff did not comply with the presidium’s request to resign, the DTB now writes in the message from this Monday that the association has called the ombudsman and informed the federal committee of the DTB. All presidents of the national associations are represented in this committee. In a digital meeting last Sunday, it was decided that Hordorff would now be asked to resign not only by the presidium, but also by the ombudsman and the spokesman of the federal committee, with a deadline of this Wednesday.
Regardless of whether he complies with this request, the formally necessary way of dismissal from office will be prepared in the course of an extraordinary general meeting, the DTB announced. If Hordorff resigns of his own accord, this dismissal will not apply. “Otherwise it will take place after the statutory period of one month. Of course he still does not exercise the office.”
Hordorff, Sriram Balaji reported, repeatedly touched him in 2010, on his shoulders, arms, legs, back, bottom – everywhere except in the genital area. The tennis official described these touches as “muscle checks”. In addition to Balaji, the former tennis player Maximilian Abel also raises this accusation against his former coach. At the age of 16, Abel was supposed to do push-ups or exercises for abdominal muscles and legs at Dirk Hordorff’s home almost naked. In May 2003, Hordorff hit the tennis player in a Hamburg hotel with his belt on his bare bottom.
Another three people affected, who do not want to be named, also said that Hordorff had performed so-called muscle checks on them at least once, some of which were uncomfortable for the young people at the time, for example if they were on the lower abdominal muscles. The events described are said to have happened between the 1980s and the 2010s. Most of those affected have remained silent – for fear of possibly no longer being supported financially and athletically.
Dirk Hordorff, who is considered one of the most powerful men in German tennis, had a law firm inform that the facts described – i.e. the allegations of the tennis players – were simply incorrect and did not take place. Dirk Hordorff has recently left his position in the DTB – according to his own statements for health reasons.