May 26, 2009
Tennis players may have experienced a loss of fan mail recently—and for good reason.
Twitter has become the next best thing, and web-savvy players are joining the twitterverse, posting real-time “tweets” (or short messages) about their lives, on and off the court.
Player tweets have run the gamut from pre and post-match commentary, to humorous quips about airport adventures, pet peeves, and favorite restaurants. This hot social networking site isn’t just giving players opportunities to communicate directly with fans, it’s become a secret (or not-so-secret) marketing and promotional tool.
Serena’s No. 1 (on Twitter)
Serena Williams (@serenajwilliams) may have fallen back to the No. 2 position on the WTA tour, but she has become one of the most popular tennis players on Twitter. Since typing her first tweet at the end of March, Serena has caused a flurry of excitement with her fans by personally responding to many comments and questions. Serena posted this non-tennis tweet after returning from the Andalucia Tennis Experience in Marbella, Spain: “Hey Guys!!! So, I am home watching Bridezilla…”
I recently asked Serena (via Twitter, of course) how she feels about this new mode of communication. “I am loving Twitter so far,” she says. “It is a cool way to do quick updates and say hello personally to my fans.” By the way, that’s 211,683 fans (and counting).
Tennis Bracelet, Anyone?
Serena’s tweets are usually more than just a quick hello to her flock of followers. Known for her passion for fashion, Serena has been using Twitter to market her new line of clothing and accessories, which recently debuted on the Home Shopping Network. Good business skills…or a good agent? You be the judge.
Serena may be No. 1 on Twitter, but she’s got some competition. Here’s a current list of tweeting tennis players:
WTA:Sabine Lisicki (GER) (@sabinelisicki)
Recent tweet: “Had a good time on the court. Getting back into the rhythm. Draw is out, playing against Safarova first round.”
Anne Keothavong (GBR) (@annekeothavong)
Recent tweet: “Match b4 me has had to stop coz a swarm of bees have settled on the net! Fire brigade have been called in to sort it out.”
Edina Gallovits (ROU) (@edinagallovits)
Recent tweet: “Had a good practice with Melanie Oudin! She is always fun to hit with.”
Casey Dellacqua (AUS) (@caseydellacqua)
Recent tweet: “Just finished fitness session at the gym. Off to the hyperbaric chamber now for some recovery.”
ATP:Andy Roddick (@andyroddick)
Recent tweet: “Off to the courts!! Looking forward to playing again…”
Andy Murray (@andy_murray)
Recent tweet: “Thanks for all the messages! I hit with Rafa today. Should be good preparation.”
Bob and Mike Bryan (@bryanbros)
Recent tweet: “It sure would help to speak Italian in Italy. Just ate three dishes that I didn’t order. Delicious stuff though!”
Amer Delic (@amerdelic)
Recent tweet: “Serena is absolutely blowing up twitter!”
Travis Parrott (@TravisParrott)
Recent tweet: “first round of the French tomorrow…I’m the 5th match on after 11:00am (Paris time)”
Retired Players/Tennis Commentators:Justin Gimelstob (@justingimelstob)
Recent tweet: “My life is a combination of Groundhog’s day and planes, trains, and automobiles.”
Jim Courier (@jimcourier)
Recent tweet: “Sharing locker room w/Mac. Will start intimidating him in 30 mins.”
Note: Jim Courier recently became the first ever to “tweet” (via Blackberry) during his own match on the Outback Champions Tour. Unfortunately, players on the WTA/ATP tours are not allowed to tweet during matches.
Players also use Twitter to post pictures of their tennis travels, giving fans/followers a better feel for their life on and off the road. Just log onto www.twitpic.com with your Twitter username/password to view their images and post comments.
Soon, more and more tennis players will be joining the twitterverse…and fans will be following.
On the Baseline (@TennisNews) will be on the lookout for any new tweeting tennis players, so check back here to see which of your favorite players have joined Twitter.