Tennis player Lesia Tsurenko has detailed the vicious abuse she has been sent by accounts from across the world, claiming that she has been told by trolls that they wished she had cancer in diatribes she describes as “pure anger”.
2018 US Open quarter-finalist Tsurenko keeps in touch with fans via social media, sharing photos of her gym sessions and training as well as relaxing in skimpy outfits when the Ukrainian is not competing.
Now the committedly upbeat 31-year-old has spoken out on the darker side of her online interactions, speculating that the poisonous messages she regularly receives could come from people furious that they have lost money after betting on matches involving her.
“Hate messages don’t only arrive from Russian-speaking countries,” she told Intersport Ukraine. “They are in different languages.
“Mostly, they wish you and your relatives death. ‘Die, creature’ is generally a classic, but the most frequent wish is that I have cancer.
“I think that people simply do not understand what they are writing at all. It seems to me that they don’t even put any sense into it.
“This is some kind of pure anger that lasts for ten minutes. Then they cool down and maybe even delete their messages.”
Tsurenko has been frustrated in her efforts to break into the upper echelons of the rankings this year, having lost to world number one Ashleigh Barty in the first round of the Australian Open in January before much of the tennis calendar was ruled out by the pandemic.
A former top-30 entrant, she is baffled by the nature of the vitriol contained in some of the correspondence, calling the motivation behind it “unclear”.
“I am not the kind of person who, even in a rage, in the most terrible state, is able to say something bad to a person,” she said.
“This is probably my happiness and misfortune. It’s not my fault that at some point people decided to put all their money on some result. I am doing my job – I can win, I can lose and still not please anyone.”
The winner of four career titles is spending her off-season in Kiev, where she has provided updates on her fitness routine and health checks.
“Some days are so much tougher than others,” she told her Instagram following of more than 41,000 last week. “But it feels great when you overcome yourself and become stronger.”