Tennis star Sloane Stephens lost her match against Angelique Kerber in the third round of the US Open on Friday — but instead of receiving support from sports enthusiasts, she received thousands of messages of abuse.
“I am human, after last night’s match I got 2k+ messages of abuse/anger from people upset by yesterday’s result,” she wrote on Instagram Story. “It’s so hard to read messages like these, but I’ll post a few so you guys can see what it’s like after a loss…”
Stephens then shared a screenshot of some of the messages she has received:
“I promise to find you and destroy your leg so hard that you can’t walk anymore @sloanestephens! Fixer and corruption like you must be ban forever in jail! I hope you enjoyed your last moments on court today,” one hateful message reads.
“This type of hate is so exhausting and never ending. This isn’t talked about enough, but it really freaking sucks…I choose to show you guys happiness on here, but it’s not always smiles and roses,” she shared.
Speaking to People last month, she opened up about how she deals with the online harassment.
“They might talk about me for a few days and then it’ll be on to something else. And kind of like realizing that my life, my choices and my decisions shouldn’t be based on other people’s feelings and how they interpret what they think what’s happened,” she told the publication.
“If you’re struggling and you need to get it out, why would you just sit and wallow? Maybe there’s someone else that can help you, maybe there’s someone that you can talk to, maybe there’s someone that has gone through the same thing and can offer you advice and support and whatever that may be,” Stephens said.
The mental health of Black female athletes has been at the forefront of discussions following the journeys of Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles.
But it’s clear that sports has a long way to go before the message is truly absorbed.