A sports psychologist who treated Oscar Pistorius over the past six years gave evidence for a second day in the murder trial of the South African Olympic and Paralympic sprinter. Wayne Derman, who has worked with the South African Olympic and Paralympic teams, testified that Pistorius’ anxieties were a factor in the fatal shooting of Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius, the first double amputee to run in the Olympics in 2012, shot four times through a locked door in his Pretoria home bathroom on Valentine’s Day 2013, hitting and killing Steenkamp inside. Pistorius said he thought Steenkamp was an intruder.
“He has a specific fear of being trapped somewhere without being able to move very rapidly,” the psychologist said under questioning from the defense team.
Pistorius was born without fibulas and his lower legs were amputated when he was 11 months old. His disability partly contributed to “significant stress and anxiety” and an “exaggerated fight response” to danger.
Another factor responsible for what the defense claims is a mistaken shooting, Derman told the court, was the contrast between Pistorius’s triumphs as a track star and the daily limitations of his condition:
You’ve got a paradox of an individual who is supremely able, and you’ve got an individual who is significantly disabled.
The trial is adjourned until Monday, July 7th.
Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder. If found not guilty of premeditated murder, Pistorius could be convicted of culpable homicide, South Africa’s version of manslaughter for negligent killing.
But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.
She retired from her most recent match with a right thigh injury last week and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.
Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.
No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seleswon the 1996 Australian Open.
But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.
Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.
Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.
Russian Daniil Medvedev, who lost in the French Open first round in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, is improved on clay. He won the Italian Open, the last top-level clay event before the French Open, and is the No. 2 seed ahead of Djokovic.
No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.