Slovaijn Stephens of the U.S. hits a return to Lauren Davis of the U.S. during their final match at the Eastbourne Championship tennis tournament in Eastbourne, Britain on June 14, 2016. (Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire via AP)
Sloane Stephens is feeling the full wrath of tennis fandom since Monday’s epic defeat to compatriot Madison Keys at the French Open. The 21-year-old, who is ranked 10th in the world and hails from the same hometown as a certain Serena Williams, has not yet commented publicly on the defeat, but in a lengthy post on Instagram she listed the increasing outpouring of vitriol in reaction to her performance.
Stephens said she first found herself receiving an “amazing outpouring of support” after winning the title at Eastbourne just a week ago. Since reaching the French Open quarterfinals, however, she said she has received more than 2,000 messages of “abuse and anger.” She added that some people have complained to the French Tennis Federation, and she also received “unwanted support” from the tennis community on social media.
“If we all choose to use this momentum to be kind and supportive of each other, then I think it can help. I don’t have any more info about Madison, but I do feel that you don’t want to see us fighting and being negative,” she wrote. “When you’re upset, you take things personally. But that’s when you think the worst of yourself and others. We need to let this give us a chance to reflect.”
Stephens said she intends to take a few days to collect her thoughts, and suggested that she’s ready to continue “progressing and growing,” despite the way things ended at Roland Garros.
“This year is going to be a really good year for me, and I can only go up from here,” she wrote. “I just want to be healthy and successful and to put everything into everything I do.”
Read the full story at ESPN.
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