Sania Mirza dominates WTA in social media followers

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When we think of the most famous tennis players, the Williams sisters, Maria Sharapova and Naomi Osaka come to mind first, but if the social media follower count is an indicator of popularity, India’s Sania Mirza is the most influential.

I compared the social media following of women’s tennis players on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I included the current Top 10 players, most Grand Slam champions from the past decade and players who are known as active members on social media platforms.

1. Sania Mirza (32 million followers)

Twitter: 9.2m, Instagram: 7m, Facebook: 15.8m

Sania Mirza of India

The tennis world tends to be focused on American and European markets, so it’s overlooked that Sania Mirza is actually the most followed player on social media. Being from such a populous country, the Indian trailblazer surpasses even Serena Williams in the total number of followers. The former doubles No.1 and winner of six Grand Slam doubles titles takes the lead thanks to her Facebook numbers, as Williams is better on Instagram and Twitter.

2. Serena Williams (30.7 million followers)

Twitter: 10.8m, Instagram: 13m, Facebook: 6.9m

Serena Williams is the absolute leader in the number of Twitter and Instagram followers.

3. Maria Sharapova (28 million followers)

Twitter: 8.5m, Instagram: 4.1m, Facebook: 15.4m

When we think about marketability, Maria Sharapova comes to mind first, which shows that social media numbers do reflect one’s influence, but are not the only thing taken into equation to calculate someone’s reach.

4. Ana Ivanovic (7.5 million followers)

Twitter: 2.7m, Instagram: 1.5m, Facebook: 3.3m

Ana Ivanovic retired more than four years ago, but she’s still in the Top 5 when it comes to social media presence. Actually, this list shows that young players still have a long road ahead to reach the popularity of their older colleagues. The highest ranked players here are all retired all veterans.

5. Caroline Wozniacki (5.9 million followers)

Twitter: 3m, Instagram: 1.4m, Facebook: 1.5m

Caroline Wozniacki is the only Top 5 player here whose dominant social network is Twitter.

6. Venus Williams (5.7 million followers)

Twitter: 1.7m, Instagram: 1.3m, Facebook: 2.7m

7. Eugenie Bouchard (5.2 million followers)

Twitter: 1.6m, Instagram: 2.1m, Facebook: 1.5m

Looking at this Top 10 list, you’ll notice that Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard is the only player who hasn’t won a Grand Slam title. The Canadian former world No.5 has won just one WTA title in her career, while her biggest career moment was the 2014 Wimbledon final (that year she also played the semifinals of the Australian Open and Roland Garros).

Despite her modest tennis results when compared to other players in this list, Bouchard is popular with sponsors and she’s recently landed a deal with New Balance apparel even though she’s ranked outside the Top 100.

8. Naomi Osaka (3.8 million followers)

Twitter: 942.6K, Instagram: 2.2m, Facebook: 624K

Naomi Osaka is the highest paid female athlete ever, but her follower numbers are not that impressive, when you take into account her lucrative sponsorship deals with Nike, Yonex, Louis Vuitton, Citizen Watch, Shiseido, Tag Heuer, etc. It’s probably because the four-time Grand Slam champion is young and her popularity is still growing.

9. Simona Halep (3.8 million followers)

Twitter: 401.9K, Instagram: 1.6m, Facebook: 1.8m

10. Victoria Azarenka (3.3 million followers)

Twitter: 1.3m, Instagram: 684K, Facebook: 1.3m

Honorable mentions

World No.1 Ashleigh Barty is well outside of the Top 10 in this list and I haven’t even found her verified Facebook page. Dominika Cibulkova is probably the biggest fan of social media, but her numbers are not so spectacular with a total of 1.3 million followers. Sloane Stephens, who also often gives us insights into her life, is just above, with 1.35 million followers.

Let me know if you think I’ve missed anyone important.

Petra Kvitova

Twitter: 647.5, Instagram: 598K, Facebook: 798K
Total: 2 million

Angelique Kerber

Twitter: 431.2K, Instagram: 650K, Facebook: 907K
Total: 2 million

Garbine Muguruza

Twitter: 505.4K, Instagram: 830K, Facebook: 539K
Total: 1.8 million

Sloane Stephens 

Twittter: 228.2K, Instagram: 500K, Facebook: 622K
Total: 1.35 million

Dominika Cibulkova

Twitter: 198K, Instagram: 500K, Facebook: 618K
Total: 1.3 million

Elina Svitolina

Twitter: 121.9K, Instagram: 716K, Facebook: 379K
Total: 1.2 million

Coco Gauff

Twitter: 208.9K, Instagram: 664K, Facebook: 303K
Total: 1.1 million

Bianca Andreescu

Twitter: 201.9K, Instagram: 659K, Facebook: 109K
Total: 969.9K

Kim Clijsters

Twitter: 481.9K, Instagram: 128K, Facebook: 265K
Total: 874.9K

Karolina Pliskova

Twitter: 213.1K, Instagram: 397K, Facebook: 229K
Total: 839.1K

Iga Swiatek

Twitter: 133.1K, Instagram: 332K, Facebook: 219K
Total: 684.1K

Ashleigh Barty

Twitter: 96.6K, Instagram: 236K
Total: 332.6K

Sofia Kenin

Twitter: 47K, Instagram: 206K, Facebook: 76K
Total: 329K

Aryna Sabalenka

Twitter: 19.6K, Instagram: 191K, Facebook: 4.7K
Total: 215.3K

(photos by Jimmie48)


4 COMMENTS

  1. That is only among Western social media apps. China has its own, Weibo for one.

    Li Na has more than 22M fans on Weibo. Even Sharapova has almost 3M fans there. I could not find Qiang Wang in my cursory search of its English-language pages.

    Even active Western players with global marketing appeal maintain presences on Weibo. Serena and Osaka each have more than 80K followers there. Simona has almost 30K.

  2. Chris, that’s good to know. Thanks for sharing. I don’t have a Weibo account, so I didn’t take that network into account. I was thinking about Li Na, but she’s not present on these Western social networks. I didn’t know she has such a large following on Weibo, but it makes sense, as Chinese people tend to focus on their own services.

  3. Pironkova’s got about 400k followers, which is more than barty and kenin. That’s kinda coool.

  4. Vedant, you see, the number of followers doesn’t correspond to ranking and popularity of players. Barty doesn’t really seem to care about social media.

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