Sloane Stephens, a professional tennis player, said on Monday that software implied to shield athletes from racist conduct has little effect and that racist behavior aimed at sports is getting worse.
Stephens, commenting after her triumph against Karolina Pliskova in the first round of the French Open in straight sets, said that she had been forced to put up with it throughout her whole career.
“Yes, it’s obviously been a problem my entire career,” said Stephens, who is Black. “It’s been a problem.” “It has never come to a halt. Things have only gotten worse from here on out.”
Even software that is supposed to filter racist remarks on social media, like that which is accessible for players at the French Open, could not stop it, according to Stephens, who is ranked 30th in the world as a player. Stephens did not go into particular specifics, but she did say that the program could not stop it.
“Yes, I did hear about the software.”I haven’t used it,” she claimed. “I have a lot of obvious keywords banned on Instagram and all of these other things, but that doesn’t stop someone from just typing in an asterisk or typing it in a different way, which obviously software most of the time doesn’t catch.”
Professional players in every sport are routinely subjected to racist words and actions, the most prominent recent example of which being the treatment meted out to Vinicius Junior, a soccer player for Real Madrid.
Vinicius was subjected to racist chanting while playing at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia the week before last, and his concerns that Spain and LaLiga are not doing enough to combat racism triggered a surge of sympathy from across the globe as well as a national discussion in Spain.
This month, the English soccer club Tottenham Hotspur was collaborating with the Metropolitan Police in an investigation into a complaint of racist abuse leveled against the South Korean star Son Heung-Min.
According to Stephens, racism had reached an alarmingly high degree.
She explained that the matter was taken extremely seriously by stating, “I mean, obviously when there are FBI investigations going on with what people are saying to you online, it’s quite serious.”
Stephens did not specify whether or if she was referring to a particular instance in her statement.
“Obviously it’s been something that I’ve dealt with my whole career,” she added.” “I believe that, as I said, it’s only started to get worse, and people online have the free rein to say and do whatever they want behind fake pages, which is obviously very troublesome. I think that it’s only gotten worse.”
“It is something that I have been forced to deal with during my whole career, and it is something that I am sure I will continue to deal with, that’s it.”
Sloane Stephens sweeps into the second round on her “favorite court”
Sloane Stephens won her first match at the French Open on Monday with a 6-0, 6-4 victory against Karolina Pliskova, who has been a finalist in two previous major tournaments. Stephens said that she was excited to be playing on her “favorite court in the world.”
While the 2017 US Open was Stephens’ sole Grand Slam victory, she has had consistent success on the red clay courts of Paris, having twice reached the semifinals at Roland Garros before losing to eventual champion Simona Halep.
Although Stephens’ first Grand Slam victory came at the 2017 US Open, she has had consistent success at Roland Garros. Most recently, she finished as the runner-up to Simona Halep in the 2018 tournament and has reached the quarterfinals on the red clay in Paris three times, most recently in 2018.
Stephens informed the audience on Court Philippe Chatrier, “This is her favorite court in the world, so she’s super happy to be back,” during the tournament. “It is always incredible to begin a Grand Slam on your favorite court, on your favorite surface.”
After getting off to a shaky 1-4 start on Sunday, when the only U.S. victory comes in a match between two players from the country (Jessica Pegula beating Danielle Collins), Stephens contributed to American women going 4-0 through their first few hours of play on Day 2.
Madison Keys improved to 35-5 all-time in first-round major matches after defeating Kaia Kanepi 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 on Monday. Keys were the runner-up to Sloane Stephens in New York six years ago and reached the semifinals at Roland Garros in 2018.
Kayla Day, a qualifier from the United States, will play next for Keys after she defeated Kristina Mladenovic, a wild card entrant from France, 7-5, 6-1.
Also, an American tennis player who was born in Croatia named Bernarda Pera defeated a player named Anett Kontaveit 7-6 (6), 6-2. The American winning run came to an end when Alycia Parks was defeated by Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who will compete in the finals in Paris in 2021, breezed over Linda Fruhvirtova, a youngster from the Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-2, in the 12th position. 22nd-seeded Donna Vekic defeated qualifier Dayana Yastremska 6-2, 7-5, while French favorite Caroline Garcia clawed her way into the second round by defeating Wang Xiyu 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-4. Belinda Bencic was defeated by Elina Avanesyan in a match that was decided by a score of 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
In the second round of their match, Stephens trailed Pliskova by a break point but came back to win three games in a row to clinch the victory. She held a lead of 19-16 in winners and made just 10 unforced mistakes, compared to 31 by Pliskova, who had lost in the finals of the US Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2021. She was victorious at the Australian Open in 2018.
“This court may be a little bit challenging. According to Stephens, “You have to play on it a lot to get a feel for when the wind is blowing and from what direction it is coming.” “The more you engage with it, the deeper your understanding of it will become. However, the court is somewhat difficult to navigate. However, this is precisely what makes it so incredible.
After competing in a total of three matches in larger clay tournaments in Madrid and Rome, Stephens was victorious in a smaller clay-court competition in Saint-Malo, France, at the beginning of this month. Last week, Stephens advanced to the semifinals of the Morocco Open after competing in the larger clay tournaments.
“Last year, my clay season wasn’t great, but I played amazing at Roland Garros,” said Stephens. “And this year, I really wanted to get matches and play a lot and to see where that got me.”
Elina Svitolina of Ukraine won her first match on Monday with a score of 6-2 and 6-2 against Martina Trevisan of Italy. After the match, Svitolina vented her dissatisfaction with what she referred to as “empty words” about the conflict in her country.
Svitolina stated, “What I found is that there is a lot, and I don’t know how to put this in a more nice way to say it, but a lot of rubbish is happening around the situation where we have to focus on what the main point of what is going on is.” “Many people in Ukraine are in need of assistance and support, but we are putting our attention on so many different things, such as empty words and other things that are not helping the situation.”
After Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine refused to shake hands with Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus at the conclusion of their match in the first round on Sunday, the crowd jeered her performance. The Russian military has used Belarus as a staging ground during the conflict in the region.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, Svitolina, at only 28 years old and ranked third in the world, abruptly ended her tennis career. She gave birth to her first child in April, and on Saturday at the Internationaux de Strasbourg she won her first title since returning to competition. After having birth, this was her return to competitive sports.
“She wants to invite everyone to focus on helping Ukrainians, to help kids, and to help women who lost their husbands,” Svitolina added. “She invites everyone to help.” We are ignoring the most important fact, which is that people in this particular period need assistance like never before. The children are not only losing their parents but also various organs and other portions of their bodies.
We are arguing over irrelevant details and ignoring the forest for the trees.
A year ago, Pavlyuchenkova stated she worried that a knee injury might end her career. She said she was sidelined for almost five months due to rigorous rehabilitation, during which time she did not play tennis at all and therefore gained weight.
“Because I was feeling despair, it was like riding a roller coaster of emotions.”I was almost in tears, but I was also sad because I didn’t know what was going to happen next,” Pavlyuchenkova said after she had won. “Additionally, there were thoughts like, ‘OK, what if I never come back?'” Or if I skip that long, which I’ve never done before since I’ve never done it before… What if I never win a match or regain my previous level of physical fitness? What if that is all there is?'”
The once world No. 11 player, who is now ranked 333rd, continued to make progress in her return by claiming tour-level victories in Madrid and Rome before making it to the quarterfinals of the Strasbourg tournament. She said that she was “super focused” in order to prevent an early loss at the hands of her younger adversary.
“I simply tried to keep my attention on the game. Pavlyuchenkova said, “I didn’t want to lose the first round at all costs.” “Because this is such a significant location for me, I planned to spend as much time as I could here,” I said.