Danielle Collins tells shocking story about experience with 'tennis stalkers'

Collins says she has had unpleasant situations where some people tried everything to get to her.

by Dzevad Mesic
Danielle Collins tells shocking story about experience with 'tennis stalkers'
© Getty Images Sport - Johannes Simon

Danielle Collins has made one pretty shocking claim amid her last Wimbledon run, revealing that players being stalked is one of the issues that many people outside of pro tennis aren't even aware of.

Collins, who turned 30 in December, is having a fairytale farewell but she still plans to stick to her plan and retire from tennis at some point this year. Even before this season and becoming one of the best storylines, Collins - who played college tennis before turning pro in 2016 - was a well-known player on the WTA Tour, especially after reaching the 2022 Australian Open final and becoming the world No. 7 that year.

But for the 30-year-old American, it wasn't all great and ideal about becoming famous after she started realizing that some people were probably ready to do anything to ger to her. That was a pretty scary realization for the 2022 Australian Open runner-up, who then decided to be extra cautious when in public and always look to be accompanied by someone when leaving her hotel room. 

"Social media does open up so many opportunities for us to connect with fans, at the same time it sometimes gives access to people who are really unwell and not in a great mental head space,” Collins told The Telegraph

“It does make you a little more cautious and sceptical. I still to this day have a really hard time when I get boxed in large groups of people, I feel scared when fans come running at me, throw things or touch me because of a few scary situations I’ve experienced. 

“I don’t really go many places by myself, I make sure I always have security on site, and it’s been something I think that has affected me very personally. For a long time it was hard to be myself. Sometimes I would question myself and think, ‘What have I done to cause this person to believe that they can cross normal boundaries?’”

Danielle Collins
Danielle Collins © Getty Images Sport - Johannes Simon

Collins: Some probably think I'm withdrawn, distant, but...

On the court, Collins plays very aggressive tennis and she also brings passion and emotion into her matches. That's one of the reasons why she has become one of the fan favorites in recent months. 

But off the court, Collins says she is probably not as open as on the court and she believes that some of her fans have probably noticed that. And the American has a message for her true fans, telling them it's not their fault but the fault of those who made her feel at risk when in public.

Also, Collins suggested that she doesn't have many players among WTA colleagues because she doesn't want stalkers to use those players to learn about her whereabouts. 

“I’ve had to be very vigilant and cautious about how I conduct my life, to make sure I’m safe. I think sometimes that has come across to fans as being withdrawn, distant, but the reality is that sometimes I’ve had to be more careful about what I say and do because I don’t want certain people knowing where I am, what I’m doing or patterns in my day-to-day life," Collins explained. 

“That’s an important thing to highlight, because to other people it can be perceived as she doesn’t post often or she’s not very friendly, she doesn’t interact with fans or other players. But it’s like, ‘No, I don’t seem to interact with other players because I don’t want someone who’s been stalking me to go through who I’m friends with and then calling them at work – because that’s happened.'"

Danielle Collins
Danielle Collins © Getty Images Sport - Michael Owens

Collins on how the WTA reacts in all of this 

When asked if she ever talked with the WTA about the stalking issues, Collins revealed that she never went to the police and also praised how the WTA reacted to those complaints. 

“I think our security team at the WTA does a phenomenal job of handling these situations and I’m really grateful for that. They were able to handle it in a way that made me feel safe. With the nature of our travel it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish whether someone is truly a fan or the other..." Collins shared.

Danielle Collins
Danielle Collins © Getty Images Sport - Dan Istitene

In her interview, Collins also admitted that she is disappointed that some people keep asking her about her retirement decision when she has already revealed that chronic inflammatory disease is forcing her to end her career early. 

For Collins, one of her biggest life goals is to become a mother. But since she is diagnosed with endometriosis - a disease that affects one's ability to get pregnant - conceiving is not as easy as she would have liked and she is retiring because she fully wants to focus on tackling the disease. 

Addressing the comments she has received over the last several months, Collins acknowledged she was aware that some would like her to keep playing but noted that people being "unempathetic" about her situation is something she has a hard time understanding. 

Danielle Collins