Harriet Dart highlights problem of online abuse after early Italian Open exit
Harriet Dart has once again highlighted the ongoing problem of online abuse in tennis following her recent defeat at the Italian Open in Rome.
Dart was hoping to make it into the main draw of the WTA 1000 event but was beaten 1-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the qualifiers by Priscilla Hon in a hard-fought contest.
After the result, she took to social media to share some of the horribly abusive messages she received.
One message told her to "go to hell" while others called her a "trash player" and a "bastard". "Some lovely messages & they keep going. Thank you, my first practice on clay was my warm up before my match and I arrived at 1am into Rome. Would have been easy to pull out but I did try," Dart wrote on her Instagram story. Tennis players are often the target of online abuse after poor results, with disgruntled gamblers who have lost money on the match often believed to be the cause. In March, Lorenzo Musetti also highlighted the abuse directed at him on social media after he lost to Adrian Mannarino in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. "Hi everyone! Just wanted to clarify about the comments story above my posts here on IG and why I did that! I think it is not healthy and correct to receive after a loss so many free insults and threats over families or person u really love. We are professional tennis players, we love tennis and we live for that," he wrote on his Instagram story. Other players to speak out about online abuse include Holger Rune and Dustin Brown. Coincidentally, Dart's opponent last week, Priscilla Hon, also highlighted the problem last year, sharing a message from someone who prayed her "leg gets amputated pretty soon". "You realize you can't, you know, let them get to you," Hon said. "Because it's so many. And it's all the time it's every single week you play. But even when you win, sometimes you'll still get hate because someone would have bet against you and you won the match. So they lost money... you can't really win either way."
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