tennis players face the scourge of online harassment

After her defeat in St. Petersburg, tennis player Caroline Garcia exposed the harassment she suffered. A phenomenon that affects almost all players, closely linked to the development of sports betting.

"I get insults almost every game, on all social networks." Alexandre Muller is ranked 227th world tennis player. And he is far from being the only one affected by this online harassment. Almost everyone is affected, even if few reveal it.

The most famous players are not spared. After his defeat in the 1st round to Saint PETERSBOURG, the Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia felt the need to make the messages received public. Internet users have sent him, for example : "You are the shame of sport", "you are very bad" , or "I have never seen such a miserable loser".

Most of the victims are shadow players who skim second or third category tournaments. Little-known names, targets of malicious provocateurs. Often, these are bettors who are frustrated with losing money. As far as possible, Alexandre Muller try not to give it too much importance: "Now I'm dealing with it. It doesn't affect me at all, if they lose their money, too bad for them."

Sometimes the messages go much further. Hugo Nys, 69th world player in doubles has received very violent threats: "The insults are after each defeat, all year round. It is fifty defeats per year and 150 messages of insults where we promise to rape your girlfriend, that we wish you to have cancer. insults it's everyday, for all players, all the time. Sometimes the guy tells you that he'll find you, that he knows where you live, or your girlfriend lives, that he'll to kill. It becomes serious threats."

To help harassed and threatened players, the French Tennis Federation has created a listening cell. Jean-François Vilotte is the director general of the FFT: "More and more players are literally harassed or insulted on social networks after their match. This is due to the media coverage of these matches, it is also linked to the development of sports betting, especially on unregulated channels. It is extremely traumatic, it affects the players and their entourage. They are destitute and do not know how to act. Sometimes they find it difficult to talk about it and wish to have a contact to help them overcome these trials. "

The French Tennis Federation has signed a partnership agreement with the Net Écoute company responsible for providing psychological support to players, and even if necessary, legal support.