|Dates: May 28 – June 11 Premises: Roland Garros, Paris|
|Reception: Live text and radio commentary on selected matches on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra, on the BBC Sport website and app|
Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens says bullying is getting “worse and worse” and trying to stop it doesn’t matter much.
The technology is designed to filter out abuse on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.
“It’s been a problem my whole career,” American Stephens told after winning the first round of Roland Garros.
“It never ended. If anything, it only got worse.
“I heard about the software. I didn’t use it. I have a lot of keywords banned on Instagram and all that stuff, but that doesn’t stop someone from typing an asterisk or typing it in some other way, which of course the software doesn’t catch most of the time.”
The French Open is the first of four Grand Slam tournaments to introduce such a system, with French Tennis Federation CEO Caroline Flaissier saying players’ mental health is “a Roland Garros priority.”
Stephens showed why she is one of the tournament’s most dangerous unseeded players as she defeated No. 16 seed Czech and two-time Grand Slam finalist Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 6-4 in an eye-catching first-round clash.
Paris 2018 runner-up Stephens wasn’t ranked high enough to be seeded in last week’s draw, but is now 30th, which would be enough to be seeded.
Her rise in the rankings came thanks to improved form on clay, when the 30-year-old won the WTA 125 title in San-Malo in early May and reached the semi-finals in Morocco last week.
In the second round, Stephens will face Russian Varvara Gracheva.
Svitolina calls on people to ‘focus on helping Ukraine’
Ukrainian Elina Svitolina says she has found “a lot of crap” on the tennis court about the Russian invasion of Ukraine since returning from maternity leave.
Former world third star Svitolina, playing in her first main event since Russia attacked Ukraine last year, won 6-2, 6-2 against the 26th seed.
On Sunday, the Ukrainian competitor Marta Kostiuk performed booed in Paris for not shaking hands Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, whose country supported Russia’s war.
Since the February 2022 invasion, Russian and Belarusian players continue to compete in ATP and WTA tournaments as neutral athletes, without the flag.
At the post-match press conference, Svitolina called on people to “focus on helping the Ukrainians.”
“We are missing a major point where people now need help like never before,” she said.
Increasingly upset as she spoke, the 28-year-old added: “The main goal is to help children, to help women who have lost their husbands because they are fighting for Ukraine.
“Children lose parents, they lose body parts.
“We miss the main point of it all and talk, talk, talk about nothing. Empty, completely empty words. It doesn’t help anything.”
Svitolina won her 17th WTA title – and first since becoming a mother – on Saturday in Strasbourg and will donate the prize money from the event to help Ukrainian children.
When asked if she would donate her winnings at Roland Garros, she said: “I’ll see what the opportunities are and what the needs of the cities are.
“For example, in Odessa, in my hometown, in Kharkov or Kiev, we will see what the urgent needs are and I will transfer this money there.”
What else happened in the women’s draw on day two?
American compatriot of Stephens Madison keys advanced to the second round with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 win over Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi to finish second in 2021 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova The Russian defeated Czech teenager Linda Fruhvirtova 6-2, 6-2.
There was a shocking defeat for 12th seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, who lost 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 to the lucky Russian Elina Avanesyan.
French fifth place Carolina Garcia endured a wobble in the second set to defeat Chinese Wang Xiyu 7-6(7-4) 4-6 6-4 to finish 14th Beatriz Haddad Maya The Brazilian defeated the German Tatjana Maria 6-0, 6-1.
Two-time Wimbledon champion and 10th seed Petra Kvitova was also knocked out of the draw, losing 6-3, 6-4 to Italy Elizabeth Cocciarettoand seeded 11th Russian Veronika Kudermetova defeated Slovakia 6:3, 6:1 Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.
However, the 2017 Latvian champion Elena Ostapenko defeated the Czech Tereza Martincova 6:3, 7:5 and set up a meeting with the American Peyton Stearns.