We look at tennis players and sometimes we wonder about their personalities, their characters and we ask the question, what are they really like behind closed doors. Some will say that it is really none of our business what kind of person athletes are, after all, you should not really use someone who plays a sport for a living as a role model, but it is quite hard not to get caught up in the personalities of our favourite tennis players. It is for this reason why so many players to whom you would never give a head nod to when you see their names on a draw sheet, the minute they turn up on social media and say something riveting, we become immediately captivated by them.
For years, the only way to truly “know” players was to read their interview transcripts and hope that some enterprising journalist would delve beneath the match play and ask something personal about players and hope that we get an answer. After awhile players started getting their own websites and some would have weekly or monthly blogs where they kept their fans up to date on their activities. Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams are 2 players who immediately come to mind when it comes to providing friendly updates to their fans. Sharapova called hers doodles and Venus just went with the classic Venus Blog. It was a really nice way of keeping in touch with fans and we got to know the personalities of both women a little bit more.
Then came Facebook and we became “friends” with our favourite players. We eagerly waited when said player would write something really nice and telling about themselves (or at least we fool ourselves into that). However, no social media has really brought tennis fans as close to their favourite players as much as Twitter has done.
In 140 words or less, players and fans alike have taken to this particular social media and made it their very own. One of the first players to really use Twitter to connect with fans was Serena Williams. Who can forget SerenaFriday when the player would use an hour or two of her time to answer questions from fans from all over the world. I recall the first time that Serena took to Twitter she broke the internet. Today, Serena has one of the largest Twitter followers in sports.
In following players on Twitter, sometimes you look to see who that player follows and for me that is when you get an insight into a player’s personality. For instance, when I look at Victoria Azarenka’s twitter profile, you can see that she is a fun loving outgoing person. A look on her page shows you who and what she follows or is interested in and it makes for fun reading. I now know that Azarenka loves music, fashion, men’s and women’s tennis, and is quite friendly with a lot of her peers.
Sharapova on the other hand is all about fashion and branding. She follows all the latest fashion designers and magazines as well as people in the industry. In terms of tennis, she follows her sponsors, as well as select members of the ATP. She does not follow any WTA players. She also seems to be into food a lot.
Serena Williams has a mixed bag of people and things that she follows. However, what is no doubt dear to her is the number of players, both ATP and WTA that she follows. Ms. Williams is very much into tennis. Venus Williams is also a mixed bag. Her followers page tells me that the elder Ms. Williams is very much into healthy living. She also follows people who are inspirational especially in terms of what they do. She is also very much into tennis and follows a significant number of WTA players. One thing that I did get from looking through the followers pages of many tennis players is that everyone seems to follow Roger Federer. Somehow, I don’t think that is a bad thing as I follow him too.
Another thing that I have really enjoyed while browsing through players’ Twitter profiles is the wide range of background pictures that they use. It really gives insight into their personalities and I have posted pictures of a few of my favourites.
|Venus Williams - Family and Harold|
|Ana Ivanovic - Philosopher|
|Sara Errani - no muss, no fuss|
|Alison Riske, God, family & tennis|
I would recommend that if you see a player’s name in the draw and wish to know more about them other than their WTA profile page, check to see if they have a social media profile, either Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You may be surprised at what you see.