Casper Ruud and other tennis players were be provided with artificial intelligence software to combat online harassment at the 2023 French Open. File Photo by Maya Vidon-White/UPI | License Photo
May 22 (UPI) -- Tennis stars will be provided with artificial intelligence software that can filter out racist and homophobic comments and other hate speech on social media throughout the French Open, tournament officials said Monday.
The French Tennis Federation will make Bodyguard.ai available to all players who participate. Main-draw play for the clay-court Grand Slam will be held from Sunday through June 11 at Roland Garros in Paris.
"It's great for the mental well-being of the players," French Open director Amelie Mauresmo said in a news release. "It clears the mind and will help everyone have a little more freedom on the court.
"I can't wait to see how the players react to it."
The technology will be used on the French Tennis Federation and Roland Garros accounts, in addition to player platforms. Players can scan a QR code to use the software on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Bodyguard.ai will give tournament organizers daily reports, detailing the messages and alerting them of potential attacks. Bodyguard.ai also can provide the federation with the "identities of the culprits in the event of legal action," the federation said.
Several top tennis players, including retired icon Serena Williams, noted mental stress and anxiety in recent years amid on- and off-court pressure.
Naomi Osaka, who is away from tennis because she is pregnant, cited depression and anxiety as reasons for withdrawing from the 2021 French Open, which led to an extended hiatus.
Williams cited numerous instances of depression throughout her decorated tennis tenure. Australian Nick Kyrgios is among the men's tennis players to cite confrontations with depression.
American Amanda Anisimova announced earlier this month that she was taking a break from tennis because she has been "struggling" with her mental health and "burnout" since 2022.
Some players have noted added pressure and social media backlash in recent years because of the increased presence of sports betting.
French Open qualifiers started Monday. The singles draw will be held Thursday in Paris.