Three months after losing the US Open title to Serena Williams, Sloane Stephens says she had to endure a slew of personal and public abuse on social media after posting a video of herself waking up after the defeat.
Stephens took to social media to explain that she had no regrets about her 2015 campaign, which saw her collect $3.6 million in prize money.
“What’s it like to wake up and lose the first grand slam?” she posted on Instagram. “It was a disappointing end to a great year, but I learned so much. I grew as a person and as a tennis player. Most importantly, I got to meet so many beautiful, talented, sweet, kind, compassionate, supportive people who helped me become the person I am today.”
The message received more than 2,000 messages on social media, including many death threats, she told ESPN.
“My biggest fear was that someone would kill me with an uppercut,” she said. “It was about the fact that I had played a match in front of 18,000 people. And I didn’t win.”
Stephens said the amount of messages of abuse she received on social media was “more than double what she had received in other matches.”
“You have some people who are going to support you and others that are going to be absolutely everything to you,” she said. “Sometimes you can be a little too bold and positive.”
While Stephens’ campaign last year saw her move into the top 10, she said she was also shaken by the reaction of the Brazilian fans.
“I’ve never been to a tournament and had somebody do that to me,” she said. “I don’t know. Maybe I did look at my sun dress the wrong way, but that was me, you know? I didn’t need to f***ing Photoshop my face. My stomach was too big, my face was too small, my feet were too short, my hair was too long. It was the most extreme offense that I could think of. And I know I didn’t deserve it, but I felt so sad and so overwhelmed by that moment.”
Sloane Stephens will next be in action at Indian Wells, where she faces fellow American Lauren Davis.
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