Fans and Followers


April 10, 2013 by Parveer Mann

nadal on twitterIn our 24/7 news cycle, many small things are suddenly newsworthy. One that caught my eye was the fact that many were pointing out that Rafael Nadal became the first tennis player to surpass 4 million Twitter followers. An impressive feat but something that entirely makes sense when you look at players as individual brands similar to musicians and actors.

We can’t cheer for the New York Yankees or FC Barcelona in tennis so fans are fervently tied to their favourite players. You are beginning to see that fan allegiance and popularity has transferred to the players’ social media following.

Here is a snapshot of the top 5 Twitter and Facebook followings according to as of April 10, 2013.



Facebook fans

Twitter followers



Rafael Nadal  11,536,151  4,053,771  15,589,922


Roger Federer  12,578,641 12,578,641


Maria Sharapova    9,788,750     176,281    9,965,031


Serena Williams    1,419,501  3,625,339   5,044,840


Novak Djokovic    2,831,652   1,706,339   4,537,991

Obviously, some players have used social media differently than others. For Nadal and Djokovic, they are constantly updating in multiple languages trying to keep their fans engaged. Serena Williams has used her Twitter feed to talk about a wide range of topics and keep everyone plugged into her social calendar. Meanwhile, Roger Federer has no Twitter account and instead amassed a large following through his interaction on Facebook and Maria Sharapova has just entered the Twitter world and has promised to add something different for her fans.

Others who are using Twitter effectively: Mahesh Bhupathi, Laura Robson, Andrea Petkovic and the recently retired Andy Roddick are good follows.

Any other players that you think are really engaging on social media?


2 thoughts on “Fans and Followers

  1. Mark Darovny says:

    I love the fact that athletes have this “voice” now that they didn’t have before, especially some of the ones in team sports that didn’t get many interviews or individual exposure.

    Sometimes they say things that get them into trouble (e.g., Canadian kayak Olympian and medal winner Adam van Koeverden) but most of the time their quips are entertaining and they sometimes raise points that make you think, and realize all the more that there’s a person behind the athletic performance.

    • parveermann says:

      It really is great for fans. I’ve found some of the unsung athletes (4th liners or back of the bench guys) to be really quite interesting on social media. However, you’re right that not every athlete has the filter or social media training to reign themselves in. Alas, we get the famous deleted tweet or post and the apology that follows some of those notorious comments.

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