A former tennis coach in France has been convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison for raping young players attending the academy he used to run in Saint-Tropez.

The court in Lyon also barred Regis de Camaret from working in tennis for life.

The case began with a book by a former ranked player who described years of abuse by Camaret, now 70. Several other women later came forward with accusations that Camaret raped or sexually abused them when they trained in the 1980s and 1990s. The statute of limitations had run out for most of the accusers.

Former No. 3-ranked player Nathalie Tauziat testified on his behalf at the trial.

Camaret has said that the atmosphere at his academy was "conducive to flings," the Sipa news agency reported.