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USA TODAY Sports
PARIS — Madison Keys thinks that with every match she plays, win or lose, she can send an affirmative message to impressionable girls around the globe.
Tuesday, it was a 6-3, 6-2 first-round victory against Ashleigh Barty at the French Open that 13th-seeded Keys hopes will offer inspiration. It was even a positive for Keys personally, who lost all three of her previous clay court matches this season at Charleston, Madrid and Rome.
The 22-year-old Keys, who last year became a celebrity ambassador for FearlesslyGirl, an international movement with a goal to empower girls to be resolute, is pleased to take on the responsibility of delivering an important message.
The banner across her social media pages, such as Twitter, offers the positive slogan, “Good Vibe Tribe.” Keys’ paramount cause is to stop cyber-bullying, which she, as a world-class tennis player, has been on the receiving end of from strangers.
The social media attacks started to get really nasty when she lost a three-setter in the Beijing semifinal to Briton Johanna Konta last fall. After the match, she checked her accounts to find people calling her anything from “loser” to “cancer of tennis.”
Keys decided she had enough.
“I just felt like if I am getting it on a probably more extreme scale and I have people telling me to just ignore it, so the people who are getting it in school, the younger girls, the younger boys, you can’t just keep telling the victims to just ignore it,” Keys said.
“In a big way it’s just standing up for yourself, and I think that’s a big thing. It seemed like it was such a topic that no one was supposed to talk about, you’re just supposed to…