‘It’s just like — I can’t handle it,’ Sloane Stephens says of US Open defeat

Written by Staff Writer, CNN

American tennis star Sloane Stephens said she has received more than 2,000 messages of “abuse and anger” since she lost the US Open final to Garbine Muguruza in September.

“There were people out there so important to me that didn’t want me to win that just hated me so much, calling me the most horrible, horrendous person in the entire world,” Stephens told Time magazine in an interview published this week.

“I had a couple tweets that were so terrible that I couldn’t even say goodbye to them. I mean, I felt so badly, because they were just so mean. I didn’t even have the heart to say goodbye to them,” she added.

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According to Stephens, the abuse came from anonymous sources, as well as some within the US tennis establishment.

The 24-year-old had to pull out of an appearance at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards on Sunday, saying she was “suffering from an anxiety attack.”

“Being yelled at every single day for not really doing anything. Now, the bad things I get yelled at, I’m like, ‘What are you talking about?’” she said.

“It’s just like — I can’t handle it.”

Stephens, who is ranked 14th in the world, has a career-high ranking of seven after winning a title in Australia in January. She claimed the 2016 US Open crown.

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