American trans-sexual Dr Renee Richards made a comeback in international tennis on Sunday (13 November) by winning Argentina's River Plate women's International tournament.
American trans-sexual Dr Renee Richards made a comeback in international tennis on Sunday (13 November) by winning Argentina's River Plate women's International tournament. In a determined effort she beat Argentina's Ivana Madruga 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the finals at Buenos Aires. Dr Richards underwent a sex change operation two years ago, and before that had been successful on the international male tennis circuit as Richard Raskind. But since her acceptance on the women's circuit Richards had several dismal defeats. However in Sunday's match she gave the first real sign that she still retains some of her former strength.
SYNOPSIS: In the early stages of the first set Argentina's 16-years-old Ivana Madruga looked to be losing. However she put up a good fight against the 43 year-old American and managed to take the set with four points to six.
Since her sex change Richards has bad a major battle to the accepted for play on the women's circuit. Some critics felt that her strength would give her an unfair advantage over women players but Richards has lost three stone in weight, and no longer has the bulky, well defined muscles she had as a man.
A well-earned, but short lived victory to Madruga.
In the second set Richards was back on form demonstrating her powerful save and the sort of strong play she was known for before her sex change.
She won the second set 6-2 and also went on to win third game 6-2. As a man Richards has captained the Yale University team of 1954, and only five years ago was ranked sixth for the United States Junior Veterans singles.
If nothing else the win shows that at 43 years Richards is still a competitive force. And if the crowd's response was anything to judge by, she's also scored a success in her battle for acceptance as a woman.