After a defeat, social networks are often cruel to tennis players, many of whom suffer psychologically from this harassment to the point that some cases have led to depression.
To combat this, Roland Garros has provided a “digital bodyguard” device that, supported by artificial intelligence, removes hard messages from their network accounts and moderates other critics.
“The goal is to directly or indirectly preserve the players and their mental health,” explains the head of the Bodyguard company, Yann Guerin, who, together with the organizers of the clay court Grand Slam, which will end next week, will develop this tool has developed. June 11.
The idea is not only to protect the tennis players, but also their environment, which may indirectly suffer from the messages that many fans post on social networks.
The case of the Japanese Naomi Osaka is paradigmatic. The former world number one withdrew from Roland Garros in 2021 because she felt she could not handle the pressure from the media.
While Osaka specifically pointed out that his problem was addressing the media during the mandatory press conferences at the tournament, he also referred to all the added pressure and assured that he was on the verge of depression.
This is not an isolated case and Roland Garros wanted to address it to prevent it from becoming even more serious.
Thanks to Bodyguard, players can download an application using a QR code that will be used to filter the messages they receive on social networks.
“It’s perfect for the mental well-being of the players. It will clear their minds. Everyone will arrive calmer on the court. I’m looking forward to knowing what the players think,” said tournament director Amelie Mauresmo.
Company representatives offer players the application, the download of which is voluntary.
The youngest seem less attracted to the tool because they grew up in the context of social networks and know better what to find on them.
But Bodyguard ensures that the protection can be useful to everyone, as instead of creating an environment of censorship, it helps players modulate the level of criticism they’re willing to endure.
More and more athletes are dealing directly with fans, without other intermediaries, which in some cases opens the door for criticism or even scams to harm players.
Tennis is one of the sports most affected by these trends and its mental impact may be greater than others as it is an individual sport, said those responsible for the application.
Bodyguard also offers the opportunity to contribute to improving the relationship between fans and players, and allows them at higher levels to collect data that can help improve the situation.
In this sense, during Roland Garros they will offer the organizers various statistics, from the most affected tennis players to the types of harassment that can occur.
Moreover, in the event of judicial intervention, it can also be used to identify internet users who have committed some crime or spread hate messages.
“We do not tolerate any kind of violence, nor cyber violence. With artificial intelligence we have access to new tools and this seemed ideal to put players in the best conditions,” says the general manager of the French tennis federation (FFT). ), Caroline Flaissier.
At the moment, the application is offered to players for free during the two weeks of the tournament plus an additional week. From there, those who find it useful can continue to maintain it if they pay for it.
Source: El heraldo
I’m George Gonzalez, a professional journalist and author at The Nation View. With more than 5 years of experience in the field, I specialize in covering sports news for various print media outlets. My passion for writing has enabled me to craft stories that capture the attention of readers all over the world.