News Update


Sloane Stephens says tennis player abuse is on the rise ahead of the 2023 French Open.

Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens claims tennis player abuse is growing “worse” and that efforts to stop it are futile.

This year, the organizers of the French Open have provided players with artificial intelligence protection against social media harassment.

The system tries to detect and prevent abuse on sites such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.

“It’s been a problem my entire career,” American Stephens remarked after winning the first round of Roland Garros.

“It hasn’t stopped. If anything, things have become worse.

“I was aware of the software. I haven’t used it yet. I have a lot of key terms prohibited on Instagram and all of these things, but that doesn’t stop someone from simply adding an asterisk or typing it in a different way, which obviously software doesn’t catch most of the time.”

The French Open is the first of the four Grand Slam tournaments to implement such a program, with French Tennis Federation CEO Caroline Flaissier stating that players’ mental health is a “priority for Roland Garros.”

Stephens and Svitolina highlight their credentials.
Day two of the French Open saw competitors continue to kick off their campaigns in Paris, with Stephens and Elina Svitolina demonstrating why they are among the tournament’s most dangerous unseeded players.

Stephens defeated Czech 16th seed and two-time Grand Slam finalist Karolina Pliskova 6-0 6-4 in an exciting first-round match.

Stephens, the runner-up in Paris in 2018, was not seeded when the draw was set last week but is now ranked 30th, which would have been enough for a seeding.

Her ascent up the rankings coincided with her improved clay-court form, which included winning her maiden WTA 125 title in San-Malo earlier this month and reaching the semi-finals in Morocco last week.

Stephens described her victory over Pliskova on Court Philippe Chatrier as “one of my favorite tournaments and one of my favorite courts to play on.”

In the second round, she will face Russian Varvara Gracheva, while Svitolina will face Australian qualifier Storm Hunter.

The Ukrainian, making her Grand Slam comeback after the birth of her daughter in October, overcame Italy’s 26th seed Martina Trevisan 6-2 6-2.

Svitolina, who took a vacation from tennis before becoming pregnant, blaming the psychological toll of Russia’s invasion of her homeland, won her 17th WTA championship – and her first since becoming a mother – in Strasbourg on Saturday.

“It’s special because our baby is half French, half Ukrainian,” the 28-year-old, who is married to French tennis player Gael Monfils, said. So we’re a French-Ukrainian family, and maybe one day you’ll see her here playing tennis, so it’ll be fun.”

What else happened on day two of the women’s draw?
Madison Keys of the United States also through to the second round, beating Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi 6-1 3-6 6-1, while Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia defeated Czech teenager Linda Fruhvirtova 6-2 6-2.

Belinda Bencic of Switzerland suffered a shock defeat, falling 6-3 2-6 6-4 to Russian fortunate loser Elina Avanesyan.

Later in the day, France’s fifth seed Carolina Garcia takes on China’s Wang Xiyu, while two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko also compete.


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