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Former leading French tennis coach stands trial on charges he raped players

A French former tennis coach went on trial Thursday on charges he raped two young players attending the academy he used to run in Saint-Tropez, the Sipa news agency reported.

The case against Regis de Camaret began in 2005, with accusations from former ranked player Isabelle Demongeot, who wrote a book describing years of abuse. The Associated Press doesn't generally identify accusers in sexual assault cases unless they agree to be named or identify themselves publicly.

Several other women have since come forward with accusations that the 70-year-old Camaret raped, fondled or was otherwise inappropriate with them while they trained with him during the 1980s and 1990s. The statute of limitations has run out for all but two of the accusers, who are now both 36.

Those two cases — on charges of rape and attempted rape — went to court Thursday in Lyon. Camaret, who also coached former third-ranked player Nathalie Tauziat, faces up to 20 years in jail if found guilty.

Camaret has said that the atmosphere at his academy was "conducive to flings," Sipa reported, and said he was involved in "flirtations" and "love games" with the two accusers.