Organisers of the French Open are offering tennis players artificial intelligence (AI) protection to counter social media abuse, but former US Open champion Sloane Stephens says the abuse of tennis players is getting “worse”.
Organisers of the ongoing tournament explain that the AI technology filters out abuse directed at players on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.
But Sloane has told the BBC that attempts to thwart the abuse is making little difference
“It’s been a problem my entire career,” American Stephens said after her first-round win at Roland Garros.
“It has never stopped. If anything, it’s only gotten worse.
“I did hear about the software. I have not used it. I have a lot of key words banned on Instagram and all of these 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.”
The French Open is the first of the four Grand Slams to introduce such a scheme, with French Tennis Federation CEO Caroline Flaissier saying players’ mental health is a “priority for Roland Garros”.
The BBC reports that Stephens showed why she is among the tournament’s most dangerous unseeded players after beating Czech 16th seed and two-time Grand Slam finalist Karolina Pliskova 6-0 6-4 in an eye-catching first-round encounter.