What would have happened if Wimbledon was decided by Twitter followers?
The Sports Techie community blog has happily blogged about tennis sports technology and history because we love any sport that can be influenced by tech for the better. So consider the following question. Who would win the biggest tennis tournament if matches between the best 32 players were decided by twitter followers? The social media powered Infographic below helps to understand some key trends happening in the tennis worldwide, especially on the female side and with the next generation of Millennial players supported by Nationalistic fans who are on social media networks via mobile devices and other tech.
It is an easy answer for the men’s draw, Rafa Nadal and his 4.64 million followers are tops. Although @RafaelNadal is the two-time Wimbledon champion, he bowed out to 144th ranked, 19-year old Nick Kyrgios of Australia, in the Grand Slam fourth round. His tweet below says he is ready and happy to get back to training for the 2014 U.S. Open (after some spearfishing time with friends in Ibiza).
De vuelta a los entrenamientos con mucha ilusión! Back to training with great enthusiasm! http://t.co/IyETYdrSgn
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) July 15, 2014
Infographic by BrightHouse
Sports Techie, Our #SportsTechie community blog gratitude goes to Brighthouse in the UK for sharing their Infographic with our readers.
No doubt, this sports analytics breakdown of the world’s top ranked 32 players by Twitter followers was not helped by Rafa Nadal and Na L,i the eventual winners of the ‘Brighthouse’ tournament who both lost earlier than expected in the tournament.
Fascinating to ponder are the follower numbers Na Li has on her Weibo social media account in China, where over 23 million Chinese flock to her feed at 李娜的微博. Perhaps some are intrigued by her topless pictures done for breast cancer awareness in the heavily censored nation. Global tennis fans know she is the number two ranked women in the world by the Women’s Tennis Association.
Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that of the top 32 men and women players on Twitter in terms of total number of followers, females nearly double the males at nearly 32.7M compared to a little over 17M. This revealing social media data are quantifiable numbers I am certain many of you had no idea was the case. Sponsors take note, for shear volume of eyeballs, your best tennis marketers are ladies, not gentlemen.
The twitter dream doubles parings in the mixed category are of course, Rafa and Li, with over 27.5 million followers between them. Li’s massive numbers, and the WTA’s number one ranking player, 17-time Grand Slam winner, Serena Williams, 4.24 followers complete the top draw for female pairs. Rafa’s follower metrics combined with the 3M+ 2014 Wimbledon Men’s Champion, Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, the number one raking player according to the Association of Tennis Professionals, combines to make the men’s pairing under 10M total.
Finally, when it comes down to the top Nationalities who follow professional tennis players, the clear winner is China with over 23 million excited fans. Imagine the spike in followers that will occur when a Chinese male counterpart to Li starts to win major tournaments on a regular basis or totally surprises the world and earns a Grand Slam trophy.
Impressive are the over 15 million Spanish followers on Twitter in a country that has just 46.5+ million citizens total.
Shocking to behold are the United States numbers that are steady at 5.64 million at a time when American tennis is at an all-time low in terms of household names and top ten ranked players. Other than Serena who may soon be past her prime, can you name another top U.S. tennis player.
The Russians, featuring Maria Sharapova and her 1.16 million followers, hold down fourth place with over 5M total Twitter followers. The European Czechs round out the top five countries breaming with National tennis pride on Twitter at just over 4M.
What does this all mean?
It means tennis is alive and kicking worldwide even if America cannot contribute as we used to. This Twitter data gives a good indication of where the next generation of superstars will come from. Asia, Europe and Russia are thriving, while North America and absent South America are not. The wildcard continent of Africa may leap forward before too long. The US and these other emerging countries need a talent and coaching shot in the arm and can do so by developing some home-grown talent like the Johhny Mac Tennis Project is doing.
Bring on the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, founded in 1881 in New York, where ATP Tour prize money has tripled in the last decade. The courts all have DecoTurf and Arthur Ashe Stadium is waiting the next champions, including in a wheelchair.
Go grab a racket, find an opponent and hit the ball around for increased fitness and to help lower anxiety. If you happen to see the next John McEnroe or Billie Jean King on the court practicing or just messing around, first encourage him or her and then tell them to pick up their smartphone and tablet and inform them that Twitter is virtually alive with tennis love, and a SmartCourt is coming soon.
I will see ya when I see ya, THE Sports Techie @THESportsTechie – http://twitter.com/THESportsTechie
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