British No.3 Heather Watson has hit back at trolls on social media and spoken out against the vile online abuse she has received on platforms such as Twitter.
The 25-year-old tennis star has likened being on Twitter to “self-punishment” due to the criticism and sexist abuse directed at her. She revealed that she gets sent vile messages about her appearance online, criticizing the way she looks whilst on court.
The tennis player, who is preparing to play at Wimbledon next week has hit back stating that it is not an athlete’s ‘job’ to look ‘cute’.
“We aren’t celebrities who have people on hand to do makeup all the time” Watson said. “We’re hustling and fighting for every point. That’s the job we have.”
“I actually love wearing sports clothes, having my hair tied up in a bun, not wearing makeup” she added.
She also dismissed the online trolls by saying, “They’re not brave enough to say it in person.”
However, Watson also made an important point about how women are put under pressure to look and dress a certain way, even from a young age. She said that she hopes she can be an example to young girls that they don’t, “have to cover themselves in makeup all the time.”
“I think more girls should feel comfortable in their own skin and not have to cover themselves in makeup all the time. I do love putting on makeup but you don’t have to wear it every single day and you don’t have to change your body to look like pictures you see on the internet.”
Unfortunately the sexism directed at Heather Watson is just one example of an underlying issue in women’s tennis. In 2010, the BBC had to issue an apology after a commentator said that tennis player Laura Robson could do with losing ‘a little puppy fat’, only to have to issue another apology on behalf of John Inverdale a few years later when he referred to Wimbledon singles champion Marion Bartoli as “never going to be a looker.”