Ex-junior Wimbledon winner Sofya Zhuk has revealed she received an “avalanche” of “aggressive” messages after sharing a topless photo of herself.
The 20-year-old Russian is now a successful model in Miami after being forced to quit tennis because of a back injury.
Zhuk regularly shares selfies and modelling snaps to her 59,000 Instagram followers but was bombarded with hate mail from fans when she stripped off for a topless photograph.
According to Russian site RT, the former tennis prodigy said: “I didn’t get quite what was the big deal.
“I posted a photo, so what? When I share something, I’m not trying to send any message.
“I’m just posting a picture that I like.
“But when I shared that (topless) photo, I received an avalanche of messages.
“Normally I wouldn’t bother about them, but this (time) around they were so aggressive.
“I just think people simply can’t accept that I’ve found myself outside tennis, that I can live happily without sport and not sinking into depression.”
Before she focused her career on modelling, Zhuk won the 2015 Wimbledon girls’ singles title at the age of 15. She made her WTA Tour singles debut at the following year’s Miami Open.
Zhuk received a wildcard into the main draw of that tournament in Florida, but lost in straight sets to Zhang Shuai in the first round.
Unfortunately, the talented youngster was forced to quit tennis because of persistent injuries and hasn’t played professionally since the 2019 Wimbledon qualifiers, where she lost in the opening round.
In a lengthy Instagram post, shared in April, Zhuk said: “Everyday I get questions about if I stopped playing tennis and why and when or if I will be back.
“I want to make it clear that I understand why you want to know and my answer is — I have not played for seven months now because for a few years I’ve been struggling with serious injuries and always had to play with lots of pain.
“I loved tennis but it got to the point where I wanted to be pain free and mentally be able to live freely and think about my health and future.”
This article first appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission