Tennis stars use online sleuths to hunt down vile race abuse trolls

Tennis stars fed up with racist trolls hit the bigots with a backhand they hadn’t bargained for.

It was game, set and catch as online sleuths helped to hunt down the culprits.

Jamaican-German Dustin Brown, American Taylor Townsend and German Benjamin Hassan, 25, passed on 70 vile messages to a specialist sports data service.

Investigators there traced the racists’ ‘burner’ social media accounts to two trolls in Bristol, one in London and another Brit before handing the evidence to UK police.

Brown, 35, pulled off a 2015 shock Wimbledon win over Raphael Nadal, but has faced abuse after matches.

Black star Townsend, 24, said: “People attack all points. Body image, my skin colour – anything they can.”

She’s been called a “n***** slut” and “fat pig n*****”.

And Hassan, who has played for Lebanon in the Davis Cup, revealed: “They call me a f***ing Muslim terrorist. They say my family should die.”

He has also received death threats.

Other sick posts received by the trio included “Wish you died from coronavirus ”.

The players’ world-first action follows demands that more should be done to fight internet trolls from black football stars Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford.

The trio were helped by data firm Sportradar who set up an investigations team to catch the trolls.

The players handed over 70 messages following recent tournaments in Germany and the US.

The firm found many came from punters betting on post-lockdown matches.

They tracked the racists down through Facebook and Instagram handles, uncovering their real names, locations and telephone numbers.

Sportradar’s managing director Andreas Krannich said: “As far as we know this is the first time players have worked with an independent data specialist to try to nail trolls.

“The four in the UK have been reported to the police.”

“Sportsmen and women have finally had enough abuse. Now we at Sportradar have thought of ways to help.”

Web trolls here can be prosecuted under the ­Malicious Communications Act and face six months jail or a fine up to £5,000.

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