American tennis player Sloane Stephens revealed harassing and threatening messages she received following her third-round loss to Angelique Kerber at the US Open on Friday.
Stephens wrote on her Instagram story Saturday: “I am human, after last night’s match I got 2K + messages of abuse/anger from people upset by yesterday’s result. 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 shared several messages she said she received.
One message read: “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.”
“This type of hate is so exhausting and never ending,” Stephens wrote. “This isn’t talked about enough, but it freaking sucks.”
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Despite the vile messages, the 2017 US Open champion said she is “choosing positive vibes over negative ones.”
“I’m happy to have people in my corner who support me. I’m choosing positive vibes over negatives ones. I choose to show you guys happiness on here, but it’s not always smiles and roses.”
The 28-year-old did share some positive messages on her Instagram story.
“Let me say I really like the way Sloane is progressing and where are we heading to. Feel super confident about the next steps,” read one message, while another said: “My Queen, I had a flash back. Proud of your work today. You did what I expected you to do. We love you.”
Instagram has reviewed the accounts flagged by Stephens and removed any which violated its policies.
A company spokesperson from Facebook, which own Instagram, said: “The racist abuse directed at Sloane Stephens after the US Open is abhorrent. No one should have to experience racist abuse anywhere, and sending it on Instagram is against our rules.
“In addition to our work to remove comments and accounts that repeatedly break our rules, there are safety features available, including Comment Filters and Message Controls, which can mean no one has to see this type of abuse.
“No single thing will fix this challenge overnight but we’re committed to the work to keep our community safe from abuse.”
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Kerber defeated the unseeded Stephens in three sets, 5-7 6-2 6-3.
“Disappointing loss yesterday, but I’m heading in the right direction,” Stephens wrote on Instagram.
“Honestly, so much to be proud of! Been fighting battles all year and haven’t backed down yet. Never stop fighting! You win or you learn, but you never lose.”
The ongoing US Open, the last grand slam of the calendar year, concludes on September 12.
CNN’s George Ramsay contributed to reporting