Amidst the Black Lives Matter movement that has been making its mark across sports, French player Gael Monfils shared screenshots of racist abuse he received on social media after losing his first match at the ATP 1000 Masters event in Rome, Italian Open.
The 34-year-old had decided to skip the relocated Cincinnati Masters and US Open citing health and safety concerns. Subsequently, his first match since the tour resumed was the 6-2, 6-4 loss to German qualifier Dominik Koepfer.
But on Friday, the World No 9 revealed the racist messages he had received on an Instagram Story.
Gaël Monfils qui se fait insulter à coup d'attaques racistes parce qu'il a perdu son match. Non par des supporters déçus (ce qui serait déjà très grave) mais par des parieurs frustrés qui ruinent tout ce qu'il y a de beau dans le sport 🤮 pic.twitter.com/S3hLt7fDbX
— Clémentine Rebillat (@clerebillat) September 18, 2020
One of the messages had a fan calling him ‘stupid black monkey’ and ‘slave.’
Sharing another post, where a fan accused him of not trying hard, Monfils wrote: “Unfortunately I gave it everything, but was very bad. Not a good evening, but I hope to come back stronger.”
Before the Italian Open, Monfils’ last competitive match was the Dubai Open semi-finals loss to Novak Djokovic in February.
His run so far this year includes back-to-back titles won at the ATP 250 event in Montpellier and the ATP 500 event in Rotterdam.
Players receiving abuse through social media though is not a rare concept, and stems from betting.
After losing in the first round of Wimbldon 2016, former World No 5 Kevin Anderson said in a Tweet: “Bummed to have lost yesterday, but at least I had a ton of death threats on facebook and twitter to make me feel better about things.”
Recently crowned US Open champion Dominic Thiem too spoke about the abuse received online in an interview last year.
“From my first matches on the Challenger Tour, I am getting the worst comments from who loses bets,” he said. “I do not take them too seriously.”