American Shelby Rogers says she “wishes social media didn’t exist” and predicts that she will receive death threats online after crashing out of the US Open in a straight-sets defeat to Britain’s Emma Raducanu.
Rogers, the world’s 43rd ranked player and conqueror of Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty in the third round at Flushing Meadows, couldn’t muster much resistance against British teenager Raducanu on Monday.
Rogers – who was the last American woman standing in the tournament – has detailed what she sees as the negative aspects of professional tennis by telling the media that she fully expects to receive abuse online after the 6-1, 6-2 loss.
Despite enjoying one of the most notable wins of her career against Barty just days ago, Rogers told the media after her loss to Raducanu that some players are becoming increasingly concerned by what they see as an escalation of aggressive messaging from fans.
“Obviously we appreciate the spotlight in those moments, but then you have today and I’m going to have nine million death threats and whatnot,” said Rogers. “At this point in my career, I’d say I’m used to it. I kind of wish social media didn’t exist.“
Rogers’ complaint mirrors a broader debate about the role of social media in sports and comes after one of the sport’s most successful players, Naomi Osaka, withdrew from several press events throughout the summer, as well as the Tokyo Olympics, citing the negative impact that media pressure was having on her mental health.
Furthermore, British football is currently in the midst of a social media reckoning of sorts after several England international players reported a wave of racist messaging in the wake of England’s penalty shootout defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 Final.
And Rogers says that she is expecting much of the same.
“You could probably go through my profile right now – I’m probably a ‘fat pig’ and words that I can’t say right now.
“But, it is what it is. You try not to take it to heart, and it’s the unfortunate side of any sport and what we do.”
Rogers isn’t alone in condemning the aggressive tone of her DMs. Her compatriot Sloane Stephens, winner of the 2017 US Open, was eliminated in the third round of this year’s tournament and later shared a selection of the messages she received in the hours afterwards.
“I am human, after last night’s match I got 2k+ messages of abuse / anger from people upset by yesterday’s result,” she wrote, while sharing a selection of screen grabs on an Instagram story.
“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.“
And while most will advise Rogers to take the high road and ignore the insults of the anonymous trolls, she says that it “does get to your head sometimes.”
“Social media can’t control what I’m doing and the way my training is going to go moving forward, but I wish it didn’t exist. It’s really tough.”