Iga Swiatek has actually asked for individuals to be “more thoughtful” about what they post on the internet.
But the 22-year-old, who has won four times on the WTA Tour this season, got off to a difficult start in the match, uncharacteristically making 23 unforced errors to lose the first set.
Despite that, the world No.1 rallied, breaking Zheng three times to claim the second set, before ultimately going on to win the match.
During her post-match press conference, Swiatek revealed that she had been the target of online abuse and called for tennis fans to show more empathy online.
“Today’s match wasn’t perfect,” she stated. “We all saw that. But the amount of hate and criticism me and my team get after losing a set is ridiculous.
“I want to encourage people to be more thoughtful when they comment on the internet.
The three-time French Open champion also claimed that this wasn’t the first time she had been the target of online abuse, revealing that she was critcised by fans online following her loss to Barbora Krejcikova in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships back in February.
“We all sacrifice a lot. We’re all working really hard to be in that place. We’re always giving 100 per cent,” she included. “It’s sad for me to see that people I work with and myself, we’re really judged.
“I was pretty proud of my results but people really just saw the last match and that I lost in the final [in Dubai],” Swiatek said.
“I’m putting a lot of energy for it not to hit too deeply, but I realised that sometimes people – I don’t know if they’re my fans or not but they want me to play better – cause me to waste a lot of energy to ignore them.”
It’s not the first time that the tennis star has called out online abuse.
She said: ““They have a bad impact and it’s not helpful. They don’t know what is going on in our lives. These people should stop and think it through.”
Wimbledon runner-up, Ons Jabeur, also claimed that a large part of the online trolling originated from people betting on the sport.
“They have nothing to do in their life and they’re spending money on you and probably, what, they lost a couple of bucks on Iga losing a set.”
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