Skip to content

Did cyberbullying cause emerging women’s tennis star Rebecca Marino to quit the sport?

Feb 25, 2013, 2:28 PM EDT

rebeccamarino Getty Images

The news came as quite a shocker, except perhaps to those who knew her best. Rebecca Marino, the 22-year-old Canadian tennis star who had reached No. 38 in the WTA singles rankings and was a two-time Tennis Canada Female Player of the Year, announced last week that she was quitting the game?

Marino has been battling depression for the past two years, but a contributing factor was the abuse she says she’s been taking on social media. Cyberbulling is nothing new, but it’s the first time to my knowledge that a young pro athlete as quit a sport because of it. Quitting Twitter, yes — but quyitting the sport? Toronto Star:

“My depression had come way before the so-called cyberbullying,” Marino, 22, told reporters on a conference call, saying it stretched back six years.

“Social media has also taken its toll on me,” she said in a press conference Wednesday.

New York Times:

“Things were being written about me, and I’m quite sensitive about that,” Marino said in an interview last week. “And I’m quite nosy, so I’ll look it up. And then I’ll realize I shouldn’t have looked it up.”

Before the internet you had to have a thick skin to play professional sports, or to be in the public eye in general. But now the social media landscape can be absolutely toxic — and for someone like Marino, downright debilitating. the saddest part of this that a lot of the abuse came from gamblers who, apparently, lost money on her matches. That’s just sick.