World #7 and Grand Slam semi-finalist Madison Keys is playing the best tennis of her young career thus far. She is in the running for a qualification spot at this year’s Tour Finals in Singapore, which would be a remarkable achievement for the talented American, as it would be her first appearance at that particular event.
After losing a match during the Asian swing, Keys fell victim to the negative aspects of what Social Media has to offer. She received countless disturbing and personal messages, which is enough to impact even the strongest of individuals. Keys opened up about the importance of trying to make these people accountable for what they choose to post:
“I think you’d be surprised that usually that happens every day. You know everyone says ignore it, and you do 99 per cent of the time. But it is one of those things where I came off the court and I had like 45 messages combined on Twitter and Instagram. It wasn’t even so much that it got to me and I wanted to call these people out. It was more for the awareness that it happens every single day and I think we have to able to do something to fix that. It’s not okay.”
“That does not give them the right to wish death on you”
In recent years it has become apparent that some involved with the ongoings in the tennis world that bet on professional tennis can react in a negative way to matches that don’t fall in their favour. Madison Keys was asked whether she thought that betting on tennis has become far too overbearing in the modern game:
“Personally I do not know a tonne about the betting. I’ve heard you can bet point to point at this point, which I think is ridiculous. I mean, it’s a tennis match, and I think some people don’t understand that. There’s going to be bad days, so maybe you’re favourite to win and they bet all their money on you, but you just have an off day, that does not give them the right to wish death on you. I honestly think it has gone really far.”
One of the main problematic features of social media is the anonymity of the users. This enables them to get away with what they choose to post on a regular basis. Even in 2016, the accountability of the people who send abuse, not to just to household names, but to everyone, seems to go unnoticed at the best of times. Madison Keys expressed the importance of recognising and efficiently dealing with the issue of accountability:
“I think sometimes we do have to make everyone aware that it’s happening and maybe then there can be some change. But if you choose not to talk about it and ignore it then the issue is going to stay there.”
“Where I had the 40 bad messages, but at the same time I had 500 positive messages.”
The 21-year-old remained upbeat about the positive aspects of Social Media. She reiterated that the minority who participate in regular networking spoil it for the large majority who try to reach out to their favourite tennis players. Although social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook allow regular tennis fans to have a greater insight into the lives of well-known professional athletes, there are certain flaws and limitations that make it even more difficult.
Madison Keys ended the Social Networking discussion on a positive note as she reflected on the positivity of some people:
“Where I had the 40 bad messages, but at the same time I had 500 positive messages. So you see that the good does outweigh the bad and I have an amazing support group on Social Media. I would never want to leave Social Media because of the few bad comments and not be able to connect to the people who are true fans and are supportive.”
The big-serving American also discussed her efforts to qualify for Singapore. She admitted that she did not expect to be in this position at the beginning of the year, but noted her improvement in consistency being one of her many goals.
Keys is the third seed in Linz and will play her first round match against Italy’s Camila Giorgi on Wednesday.