Depressing data reveals which tennis players suffer most online abuse

Shahida Jacobs
Novak Djokovic takes a break
World No 1 Novak Djokovic

French Open organisers took a big step this week in an attempt to combat online abuse and new data about which tennis players suffer the most when it comes to cyberbullying has demonstrated exactly why these measures are necessary.

The French Tennis Federation (FFT), which runs Roland Garros, has revealed that tennis players will be offered artificial intelligence-protection from social media abuse at this year’ tournament, which starts on Sunday May 28.

Using AI technology Bodyguard, comments that players receive on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and TikTok will be moderated in realtime with responses analysed in less than 200 milliseconds.

“As part of its strategy to take care of the players’ mental health, the FFT decided to collaborate with ‘Bodyguard’ to fight against cyberbullying,” the FFT said in a statement.

And research conducted by World Sports Network has shown why more needs to be done to protect sports stars – not only tennis players – from online abuse.

WSN “measured the social sentiment of tweets mentioning players in a negative light as well as the public’s reaction towards particular Facebook posts” and they were able to determine which tennis players suffered the most negativity online over a 16-month period.

On the men’s side, data reveals that 22-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic received the most negative tweets as almost one in five of tweets (15%) about the tennis great are negative. Eleven per cent of reactions on Facebook posts that mention Djokovic are “angry”.

The Serbian is often referred to as “selfish” while some people “hope he never wins another Grand Slam”.

Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas also received a lot of negative feedback (15% of tweets) with many commentators not happy with his on-court behaviour.

By contrast, British No 1 Cameron Norrie only has a four per cent negative-tweet sentiment.

Player Twitter sentiment- negative Facebook ‘angry’ reactions
Novak Djokovic 15% 11%
Stefanos Tsitsipas 15% 7%
Carlos Alcaraz 6% 1%
Daniil Medvedev 5% 3%
Casper Ruud 5% 1%
Cameron Norrie 4% 1%

 

The data also found them WTA stars receive more online abuse than their male counterparts as the top six seeds at this year’s French Open have an 8.6% negative sentiment on average compared to the 8.3% of the men.

Reigning Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka receives the most negative feedback with 15% on Twitter and five per cent of Facebook reaction posts “angry”.

Player Twitter sentiment- negative Facebook ‘angry’ reactions
Aryna Sabalenka 15% 5%
Elena Rybakina 10% 4%
Caroline Garcia 10% 1%
Iga Swiatek 7% 2%
Coco Gauff 5% 3%
Jessica Pegula 5% 1%

 

Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina and France’s Caroline Garcia have a 10% negative sentiment when it comes to tweets while world No 1 and three-time Grand Slam champion Iga Swiatek has a seven per cent negative sentiment on Twitter with Coco Gauff at five per cent.

– Independent online sports and betting guide World Sports Network, asked Google Bard to analyse tweets from January 2022 until May 2023. Bard gathered data from social listening tool Tweet Binder, the Twitter API and studies carried out by the University of Belgrade to provide a snapshot of the current sentiment on Twitter.