• US Open champion posts tweets about call for equal prize money • ‘I get contacted by editors & reporters trying to get more quotes’
Sloane Stephens has said she has received more than 2,000 messages of “abuse and anger” since she lost to Angelique Kerber in the US Open final last month.
Now Stephens, who retired for nearly six months last year after sustaining a stress fracture in her foot, said she received vicious messages even after she posted on Twitter that she was happy to share her views on equal prize money.
“Let me tell you something, I get contacted by editors and reporters that are trying to get more quotes out of me about how upset I am and how angry I am and how Serena got $25,000 for losing to Venus [Williams] in the final [of the US Open] and I only got $20,000,” she said.
“It gets emails of everything and I get connected to it on social media and it’s just horrible to see. I was happy that people were saying, ‘Look at your courage’, you know, ‘you should be happy you’re playing’, but to get any type of hatred on Twitter, it’s ridiculous,” she added in an interview with People.
Stephens left tennis for four months last year after her foot injury, but returned to the circuit in May. The 23-year-old American beat Caroline Wozniacki, then world No 1, in the first round in Stanford before suffering a stunning defeat to Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova in the third round.
“I had a foot injury a year ago, and I couldn’t walk or wear my tennis shoes,” she said. “That’s why it was painful to go and even walk around. It took six months to get over it, and I was pleased that I decided to come back. I was almost six months completely retired. It was the best thing that could’ve happened to me because I took some time off to sit back and just live. But it sucked.
“The US Open was the first tournament back that I was able to walk on the court,” she added. “The [Davis Cup] and [US Open] double, I really played in two different situations.
“I definitely did struggle with playing for so long. I couldn’t even walk to the bathroom to flush my toilet,” she said. “It was weird. I felt a lot better after that. But there’s only one week a year when you go through that. I just want to be doing this for 20 years, not four months. I just want to keep going and keep playing.”
Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka are bidding to end months of waiting for a rematch at the WTA Finals on Monday.
Williams and Azarenka both qualified for Singapore after claiming titles in New York last month. Serena has only played three tournaments this year, and missed last year’s WTA Finals because of pregnancy.
“The truth is I haven’t been able to practise that much. I was off for almost six months,” Williams said. “I got the most out of my time off because my body told me, ‘hey, there’s something going on,’ and I listened. But I still haven’t practised with my team.
“I still don’t have my team in the room. I haven’t gone to the hotel by myself. They’re still with me, just in the distance.”