Man charged with stalking tennis star
A man was charged with stalking Serena Williams after police said they caught him trying to enter the tennis star’s gated neighbourhood.
Palm Beach Gardens police said 40-year-old Patenema Ouedraogo told officers he was going to Williams’ home on Monday night “because he loves her” and “he knows the feelings are reciprocal”.
A lawyer for the 13-time Grand Slam singles champion said he had recently obtained a restraining order after Ouedraogo tried three times to contact the player.
Police said neighbourhood security guards stopped Ouedraogo as he walked in several minutes after Williams’ sister, Venus, returned home.
The guards had been alerted to call police if they saw someone of Ouedraogo’s description.
According to the police report, Serena Williams’ lawyer, Malcolm Cunningham, got a restraining order to keep Ouedraogo away from Williams after he followed her to a meeting with her agent in Los Angeles in October.
Cunningham told police Ouedraogo also posed as Williams’ assistant while she was at the Home Shopping Network in Tampa, Florida, this year, gaining access to her dressing room before he was escorted from the building.
Ouedraogo also followed Williams to a radio interview in Florida last month, the lawyer said.
Palm Beach Gardens Police said Ouedraogo told them he knew Williams’ whereabouts because he followed her on Twitter.
Williams hasn’t played a top-level match since winning last year’s Wimbledon title. She cut her right foot on broken glass last July and needed two operations, then suffered a dangerous blood clot in her lung.
She and her sister made a public appearance in Washington last Thursday, serving as instructors at a Washington youth tennis clinic.—AFP.