Tennis star Sloane Stephens shared racist and sexist messages she received following her U.S. Open loss to Angelique Kerber in a series of Instagram story posts on Saturday. The 28-year-old, who is a former world number three, said she received over 2000 abusive messages after her 5-7 6-2 6-3 defeat to the German on Friday.
“This type of hate is so exhausting and never ending,” Stephens shared on her Instagram story. “This isn’t talked about enough but it really freaking sucks.”
She continued: “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.”
The tennis star then went ahead to share screenshots of some of the abusive and threatening messages she received. “I promise to find you and destroy your legs so hard that you can’t walk anymore @sloanestephens,” one of the messages sent to her read, per NBC News. “I hope you enjoyed your last moments on court today.”
Another message also read: “How about less time posing for pictures like a f—— s— and more time practicing you f—— c—. U can’t win his serve to save your f—— life you dirty w—-.”
Stephens also shared a screenshot of a user sending her several monkey and clown emojis.
Despite the abuse, Stephens also shared encouraging messages she received from her fans after her defeat. “I’m happy to have people in my corner who support me. I’m choosing positive vibes over negative ones,” Stephens said. “I choose to show you guys happiness on here, but it’s not always smiles and roses.”
In related news, Haitian-Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka said she’s contemplating taking a break from the sport after her U.S. Open loss to Canadian teen Leylah Fernandez on Friday. “I feel like for me, recently, when I win, I don’t feel happy, I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad,” an emotional Osaka said during a press interview after her defeat, NBC News reported. “I don’t think that’s normal.”
And though the moderator tried ending the session as Osaka appeared overwhelmed, she said she wanted to go ahead with the interview. “This is very hard to articulate,” she continued. “Basically, I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match.”
She then went ahead to apologize before saying, “Yeah, I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while.”