June 5, 2023 3 min read


FTF Combats Online Hate against Athletes with Bodyguard.ai Software

Numerous prominent tennis players have raised their voices against the relentless barrage of abuse they face on various social media channels

In a groundbreaking move to address the growing issue of social media abuse and hate directed towards tennis players, the French Tennis Federation (FTF) has partnered with Bodyguard.ai to provide players with an artificial intelligence (AI) software solution. The software aims to block negative comments and protect athletes from death threats and other forms of online harassment, often originating from disgruntled gamblers.

High-profile Tennis Players Speak Out Against Online Abuse and Death Threats

Several high-profile players have spoken out about the incessant abuse they receive on social media platforms as reported by Associated Press. Frances Tiafoe, Jessica Pegula, and Donna Vekic, among others, have reported receiving death threats and derogatory messages following their losses in professional tennis matches. The impact on players’ mental health has become a significant concern in the tennis community.

Sloane Stephens, the 2017 champion at Flushing Meadows and 2018 runner-up at Roland Garros, revealed that she frequently faces racist messages online, some of which have prompted FBI investigations. Stephens, who is African American, emphasized that the problem has persisted throughout her career and has only worsened over time.

To address this pervasive issue, the FTF has made Bodyguard.ai software accessible to all participants of the French Open, including singles, doubles, juniors, and wheelchair competitors, totaling around 700 to 800 players. The software covers popular social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. So far, several dozen players have signed up for the service, according to Bodyguard.

FTF’s CEO Highlights Importance of Tackling Cyberbullying in Tennis

Caroline Flaissier, CEO of the FTF, has stressed the importance of creating a comfortable environment for players to focus on their performance. She highlighted the mental aspect of tennis, where athletes make countless decisions during a match, and stated that cyberbullying must be urgently addressed. The federation allocated a budget ranging from $30,000 to $50,000 for the implementation of the AI software.

The Bodyguard software actively monitors the social media accounts of the FTF and the French Open itself, analyzing comments and deleting any hateful or undesirable content within milliseconds. 

Despite some skepticism, with players like Barbora Krejcikova questioning the effectiveness of combating negativity entirely, the majority of players expressed their gratitude for the FTF’s initiative. 

This is not the first time the FTF has tried to combat social media abuse. Last year, in collaboration with gaming operator La Française des Jeux (FDJ), it launched an initiative called #SmashTheHaters aiming to fight against cyberbullying of tennis players.

France’s gambling regulator, L’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), and the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) also teamed up last year to launch an anti-bullying campaign, aiming to combat cyberbullying.

While the efficacy of the AI software remains to be seen, its implementation at the French Open has garnered attention from other major tennis tournaments. Wimbledon and the US Open organizers are closely monitoring the results in Paris, with a view to potentially adopting similar measures in the future.


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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