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Jim Pierce Denies He Regularly Hit Daughter Mary and Wife

August 30, 1993| Newsday

In his first extensive interview since allegations appeared in a national magazine this month, Jim Pierce denied charges by his daughter and wife that he slapped them regularly and threatened their lives.

Pierce said he has no intention of harming his family or of violating a restraining order to stay away from his wife and two children. Still, private bodyguards have been hired to protect Yannick, David and Mary, who is the 13th-seeded woman in the U.S. Open tennis tournament beginning today in Flushing Meadow, N.Y.

Responding to charges by Mary and Yannick that appeared in Sports Illustrated, Jim Pierce said: "They're lying through their teeth. I slapped my daughter one time in my life at a tournament in Italy. When your child tells you, ' -- you,' and spits in your face, it's a reflex to slap them. I wanted to hit the . . . out of her, but I didn't swing that hard. She turned her head, and I knocked her glasses off. I can think of two other times on the court when I grabbed Mary and shook her, but that's all.

"I slapped my wife one time 12 years ago, but I had just cause and she knows it. I never had to do it again."

Yannick filed for divorce after nearly 20 years of marriage last May, about the same time Mary fired her father as her tennis coach.

"I gave her a life," Pierce said of his daughter. "Now, she's taken a life from me. I've got a criminal record. Who's going to hire me? I'm not going to bother her. They think I treated her like . . . , but Mary treated me like . . ."

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