Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, says athletes continue to deal with racial comments.
In fact, the 30-year-old who turned pro in 2009 says it’s the worst he’s ever experienced.
«Yeah, obviously it’s been a problem my whole career. It’s never stopped. If anything, it’s only gotten worse,» he said Monday.
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Artificial intelligence software was implemented for players at the French Open to remove some feedback, but Stephens says it didn’t work as originally planned.
Stephens noted that users can censor their insults with an asterisk, but the message remains.
«I heard about the software. I haven’t used it,» he said, via USA Today. «Obviously I have a lot of banned keywords on Instagram and all these things, but that doesn’t stop someone from just typing an asterisk or typing it in a different way, which obviously the software most of the time doesn’t catch.» .»
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Stephens did not name specific cases, but hinted that she received «serious» threats against her.
“I mean, obviously, when there are FBI investigations going on with what people are telling you online, it’s very serious,” he said.
«Obviously it’s been something I’ve dealt with my whole career,» he added. «I think, as I said, it’s only gotten worse, and people online are free to say and do whatever they want behind fake pages, which is obviously very problematic. It’s something I’ve had to deal with.» my entire career and something I’ll continue to deal with I’m sure. That’s that.»
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Stephens is currently competing in her 12th French Open and is seeking her first title there — she reached the final in 2018. She will face Varvara Gracheva in the second round on Wednesday.