Whilst all the top tennis pros battle it out for the undisputable number one position on the tennis ranking, other people are interested in a more subtle, more personality based ranking – who is good fun on social media?
When all their matches are consigned to history, all tennis players must be aware of the fact that their Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feeds will live with them forever. Here we take a cross sections of all levels of players to see who comes out as cool cats and who comes across as a snooze and snore fest. But beware of course, with modern media training and ‘ghost written’ posts by highly paid influencers, we help decipher who to follow and who to ignore in this modern minefield.
To many the Swiss Master is the absolute true greatest of all time. There is little doubt that he has the on court stats to back this claim up, but what is he like online? His twitter feed is very wholesome. We don’t detect any signs of interference from management or influencer type ghost-writing.
Feel the force of Federer’s flick.
In interviews the man comes cross as very thoughtful with a nicely concealed passion that occasionally bursts out in his on court play. As a teenager he used to be a massive racket smasher until his parents banned him from the game for a few weeks. He soon learned his lesson. This passion you can just about hear underneath the basic factual patter of his posts. He was quite late to joining the twitter party but his astonishing number of followers have soon made up for that.
Serena Williams really is a social media phenomenon. She famously let it slip that she was pregnant by unintentionally posting a photo of herself pregnant online. What we leaned in hindsight was that she was making a private photo diary of the size of her growing bump on a week by week basis. But one week three months into her pregnancy she tweeted the picture instead of filing it away. Her secret was out of the bag. But she soon came clean and admitted her little mistake. She had been planning on telling her fans soon anyway.
Serena posts sporadically, if you are a betting person, don’t expect much return from betting she’ll be posting any time soon. There is little promotion from her sponsors and partners, not half as much as some of the more bland and corporate players out there. With Serena's tweets you really get the feeling she is speaking from the heart and that has helped her connect with fans all over the world, something she didn’t do well in the middle of her career.
Serena bangs one in.
Serena is the first to admit that she has different personalities on court and one of those, in her own words, is ‘psycho Serena’. It is this Serena that the general sports viewing population had taken against a few years ago. But they perhaps didn’t always understand the intense pressure a top class athlete has to put themselves under to achieve at the level they achieve at. Serena had to adopt this persona to achieve her goals. Naturally we don’t see any of this Serena on her twitter feed, why would we, she only brings that Serena out on court.
This shows us the strength of twitter to let us get to know the sports stars better. Serena uses her social media strength to great effect.
If you do want a giggle try out Oracene Price’s twitter feed. Serena and Venus’s mother Oracene, who is now divorced from their father and childhood Svengali and mentor Richard Williams, is a true breath of fresh air on twitter. If you think Serena is non-corporate and genuine, you wait to you read Oracene's tweets. She makes looking laid back and sounding laid back into somewhat of an art form. You wouldn’t believe this same woman had the personality that gave us two of the feistiest competitors, not just women’s tennis, but in all of professional sports today.
Brad Gilbert is still a highly respected commentator for many channels today and he has thousands and thousands of twitter followers. He was a great journeyman player in his day in the late eighties and early nineties. He amazingly managed to get to number 4 in the world with only winning a couple of ATP titles.
His best achievement was being runner up in the inaugural but now defunct Grand Slam Cup where he defeated many excellent players only to lose in straight sets against the newly crowned US Open champion, the still teenage Pete Sampras.
The big thing about the Grand Slam Cup was that it was the first competition to offer one million dollars in prize money to the winner. Of course this sounds like small fry now, but then it was huge news as the men’s champions in the most lucrative singles Grand Slam competitions would still only get about 400,000 dollars prize money. So this competition was big news. Gilbert watched Sampras hit clean service winners past him time and again.
On twitter with his 138K followers, Gilbert is chatty and to the point. He coached André Agassi very successfully and most of his posts are coaching based. He is prolific, blunt and very knowledgeable. Worth following.
This former top ten player and Grand Slam semi finalists has been plagued by injury of late. He is the proud possessor of many tattoos and his twitter is as quirky as you would expect from a man who has Dostoevsky on his body in permanent ink. Worth a follow.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the scale, Victoria really offers very little in her tweets. There is little personality on show, it is more a stream of retweets and emoticons. Whilst a well judged emoticon at the end of some juicy text is great, pure emoticons can seem a little childish. We are sure in real life this former world number one and two time slam champion is more fun than her tweets. Perhaps one to avoid.
It’s a stretch to find fun on Vika’s feed.
Thanks for joining us on this tennis twitter round up. Do let us know if there are any other great players we should have mentioned.