CINCINNATI, Ohio -- World No.1 Iga Swiatek asked for more understanding and kindness on the internet after she received angry messages from fans after her three-set win over Zheng Qinwen at the Western and Southern Open.
"The amount of hate and criticism that me and my team get after even losing a set is just ridiculous," Swiatek told reporters. "I want to kind of encourage people to be more thoughtful when they comment on the Internet.
"It's kind of sad for me to see that people I work with and myself, we are really judged. I would like to encourage people to be more thoughtful and to also focus on the positive side of what we are doing, because today, even though I didn't start the match well, I would love for people to see how I problem-solved and how I really got out of trouble."
By coming back to defeat Zheng 3-6, 6-1, 6-1, Swiatek tallied her tour-leading 52nd win of the season. She has now made 12 consecutive quarterfinals, the longest active streak by a large margin. In Cincinnati, she is bidding to win her fifth title of the season. Her haul of four titles -- Doha, Stuttgart, Roland Garros, and Warsaw -- is the most on tour.
So if Swiatek is getting critical messages based on that resume, something is clearly wrong.
"I also saw that after Dubai and Doha, when I won a tournament and then was in the final, I was pretty proud of my results but people really just saw the last match and that I lost in the final, and they shouldn't," Swiatek said.
"The thing is that I'm putting a lot of energy for it not to hit too deeply, but I just realized that sometimes people that -- I don't know if they are my fans or not, but obviously they want me to play better -- they cause me to really kind of waste a lot of energy to ignore them.
"It's just unnecessary because I know how much work we are putting and how much everybody sacrifices, me and my team. I wish people could also see that and not judge straightforwardly."
No.5 Ons Jabeur could relate to Swiatek's experience.
"I'm glad that Iga is talking about it," Jabeur said. "Honestly, you win, you lose, you get hate messages no matter what you do. We need more humanity, more nice people on this earth, but I don't think you can change the mentality of some bettors. They have nothing to do in their life, and they are just spending money on you, and probably, what, they lost a couple of bucks on Iga losing a set.
"I know Iga. She's strong, and those people are horrible and there are horrible people on this planet. What do we do? We move on. They get criticized in media conferences like this and we move on."