Just days ago, 29-year-old John Millman had the weight of a nation on his shoulders after he beat legendary player Roger Federer in an incredible showdown at the US Open.
The match, which was arguably one of the biggest of Millman’s life, saw the Queenslander claim victory 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 7-6 in four sets. He moved on to the quarter-finals but was defeated by Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic.
While the athlete endured sweltering heat for two hours and 48 minutes, Djokovic managed to beat the Aussie, knocking him out of the tournament.
Millman has now spoken to reporters and claimed that he expects to be the victim of cruel online taunts and trolling following Thursday’s loss against Djokovic. In what should be a career-highlight for the star, he said he will likely now face backlash from sports fans and punters who had lost money after betting on him to win the match.
“I’ll have some trolls probably now,” Millman said on Thursday, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. “It’s a bit of a headache and a bit of a blight at the moment that a lot of players have to deal with.”
Millman said he was doing his best to ignore the “fair few idiots” online and said that he gets these messages anytime he loses a match.
He’s now calling for trolls to be named and shamed, warning that some of the people sending messages had families. Despite the hate, the star said he was proud and happy of his accomplishments.
He appeared to be right, as some social media users took aim at him shortly after the match. One Twitter user even wrote: “I was wondering how long it would take for John Millman to be exposed as yet another Australian tennis player w****r (they nearly always are). Didn’t take long.”
Another added: “John Millman – A top shelf, 9ct gold Aussie w****r.”
However, many more praised his amazing performances throughout the tournament, calling him an inspiration to Australia.
Sadly, he isn’t the only athlete who has been the target of vile comments online. In 2013, Wimbledon winner Marion Bartoli faced cruel taunts from people online who called her “fat”, “manly” and an “ugly b***h”. After the then 28-year-old won the woman’s singles prize, she was told by online bullies that she was too ugly and didn’t deserve to win.
In 2016, it was a similar scenario for South African player Kevin Anderson. The player – who was one of South Africa’s top 10 – lost his first round of Wimbledon. Similar to Millman, he was verbally abused.
“Bummed to have lost yesterday, but at least I had a ton of death threats on Facebook and Twitter to make me feel better about things…” he said at the time.
Bummed to have lost yesterday, but at least I had a ton of death threats on facebook and twitter to make me feel better about things…
— Kevin Anderson (@KAndersonATP) June 28, 2016
It’s not just tennis stars. At the 2012 Olympics, British diver Tom Daley was also the subject of hate online. After placing fourth in a diving event, a man advised Daley he’d let down his father – who had died the year before of brain cancer. That man was arrested, according to the BBC.