Tennis coach denies she is a lesbian

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A top female tennis coach accused of having an affair with a 13-year-old girl denied she is a lesbian, a Liverpool court heard yesterday.

Ex-tennis pro Claire Lyte, 29, told police “I like men,” when asked about her sexuality.

Transcripts of the police interview with the former Lawn Tennis Association coach of the year were read to a jury yesterday.

Lyte, from Solihull, is accused of five counts of unlawful sexual activity with a pupil, which she denies.

Liverpool Crown Court court has already been told by the girl’s mother she found Lyte naked with her daughter at the family home in 2005.

According to Press Association, the jury was shown intimate text messages on Lyte’s mobile phone in which the child declared she “loved” Lyte and “wanted to be with her forever”.

The eight women and four men have also seen a pair of pink knickers, with the alleged victim’s name tag on them, which were found in Lyte’s bedroom.

DNA analysis has suggested that Lyte had been wearing the underwear.

The girl in question, now 15, told the jury last week that she felt “threatened” into having a lesbian relationship with her tennis coach.

She claimed she had not wanted to be involved sexually with Lyte but was blackmailed.

The BBC reported that she told the court: “I never wanted to do any of it, Lyte told me what to do.

“She said if I was to say anything to anybody she would hurt me and she would stop my tennis completely and would tell the academy to get rid of me.”

Lyte’s defence argues the claims have been fabricated by the alleged victim’s mother who was angry that the child’s tennis career was proving unsuccessful.

According to the Mirror Lyte said: “That did not happen. I would never engage in anything like that, certainly not a female and not someone that age.”

The coach has been suspended from her job at the LTA academy in Loughborough, Leicestershire.

Simon Jones, from the Lawn Tennis Association, previously accused Claire Lyte, 29, of being “too close” to the 13-year-old and has said she lied to him about the amount of time she was spending with her pupil.

The court also heard a fellow coach expressing concern the friendship could be “compromising”.

The trial continues.