Pierce Fears Father’s Threats : Tennis: World’s No. 14-ranked female player has filed two restraining orders for protection.


Mary Pierce, the world’s No. 14-ranked player, said that her father, Jim Pierce, struck her regularly after she began playing tennis when she was 10, Sports Illustrated reported this week.

In the last four months, Mary Pierce has had to hire bodyguards, check into hotels under assumed names and file two restraining orders to protect herself from her father, the magazine said.

In filing for a restraining order against him in New Jersey Superior Court on July 20 before she played in an event in Mahwah, N.J., Mary Pierce asked for protection, declaring that her father has made “terroristic threats” and “threatened (her) life.”


Pierce, 18, also said that her father had told her, “If you think there was a nut in Waco, Tex., you haven’t seen anything yet.” He apparently was alluding to sect leader David Koresh.

Mary Pierce told Sports Illustrated, “You never know what he’s capable of. One reason I hesitated to break away was that you just don’t know what he might do.”

Pierce claimed that her father became abusive after she began playing.

“He would slap me after I lost a match or sometimes just if I had a bad practice,” she said. “When I told my mom (Yannick), that would cause fights, too.”

According to a restraining order Yannick filed on Mary’s behalf in San Diego on July 29, “. . . starting six years ago (Jim) would threaten to kill me, would slap me around.”

Yannick, 43, filed for divorce last June after 20 years of marriage. About the same time, Mary fired her father as her coach.

Jim Pierce was banned by the Women’s Tennis Council, the governing body of women’s tennis, from attending any more tournaments in 1993 because of violent behavior at the French Open last May. At every tournament Mary enters, pictures of him are given to security guards and posted at ticket booths with instructions to deny him entry, Sports Illustrated reported.


Last July, Jim Pierce allegedly attacked one of Mary’s bodyguards at a hotel in Latina, Italy. The magazine reported that Jim Pierce stalked his family as they traveled around Europe to tournaments.

Jim Pierce refused interview requests by Sports Illustrated. In previous interviews, he denied that he physically abused Mary.

A year ago, published reports revealed Pierce’s real name as Bobby Glenn Pierce of Greensboro, N.C., and that he was a convicted felon.

He was convicted of various charges, including robbery and grand larceny in the first degree, assault in the second degree and carrying dangerous weapons--two knives--Sports Illustrated said. The magazine said doctors found he had schizophrenic and paranoid tendencies after he had been admitted to a psychiatric prison ward in a New York hospital in 1960.