Roger Federer: Next generation of tennis stars need to be protected from social media abuse

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Roger Federer has suggested a re-think on the way that tennis stars and the media interact  (Getty Images)
Roger Federer has suggested a re-think on the way that tennis stars and the media interact (Getty Images)

Roger Federer has suggested that the next generation of tennis stars like Emma Raducanu need “help” to prevent abuse on social media affecting them.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion does not believe he would have been able to come through in this era, such is the level of criticism that today’s players are subjected to.

The Swiss, currently recovering from knee surgery, thus admires Raducanu and Naomi Osaka, but says more must be done to assist them.

“I was following Emma Raducanu’s incredible run in Wimbledon and also Naomi Osaka these last few years,” Federer said in an interview with GQ.

“It’s been amazing, both of their stories, but it hurts when you see what happens and when they don’t feel well.

“I think we do need to help, coach and mentor the younger generation more. I can’t imagine going through the beginning of my career with social media.

“For every 10 nice comments there’s always one negative comment and, of course, that is the one you focus on. It’s a horrible situation.”

Before becoming an unlikely US Open champion in New York earlier in September, Raducanu had pulled out of her fourth-round match at Wimbledon this summer after suffering breathing difficulties.

Meanwhile, four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka has taken breaks from the sport this year after struggling with her mental health.

The Japanese tennis player pulled out of mandatory media commitments at the French Open and subsequently clashed with a journalist at a press conference at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, with Osaka left in tears.

Naomi Osaka has taken several breaks from tennis this year (REUTERS)
Naomi Osaka has taken several breaks from tennis this year (REUTERS)

She has previously said that interacting with the media can have a negative effect on her.

Federer believes that the sport’s relationship with the media needs redefining and reconsidering.

“I think players, the tournaments, journalists, we need to sit down together in a room and go, “OK, what would work for you and what works for us’,” Federer suggested.

“We need a revolution. Or at least an evolution of where we are today.

“Even when I am feeling down I know I need to act a certain way in front of the world’s press. We need to remember that tennis players are athletes and professionals, but we are also human too.”

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