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
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
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.
Twitter: 647.5, Instagram: 598K, Facebook: 798K
Total: 2 million
Twitter: 431.2K, Instagram: 650K, Facebook: 907K
Total: 2 million
Twitter: 505.4K, Instagram: 830K, Facebook: 539K
Total: 1.8 million
Twittter: 228.2K, Instagram: 500K, Facebook: 622K
Total: 1.35 million
Twitter: 198K, Instagram: 500K, Facebook: 618K
Total: 1.3 million
Twitter: 121.9K, Instagram: 716K, Facebook: 379K
Total: 1.2 million
Twitter: 208.9K, Instagram: 664K, Facebook: 303K
Total: 1.1 million
Twitter: 201.9K, Instagram: 659K, Facebook: 109K
Twitter: 481.9K, Instagram: 128K, Facebook: 265K
Twitter: 213.1K, Instagram: 397K, Facebook: 229K
Twitter: 133.1K, Instagram: 332K, Facebook: 219K
Twitter: 96.6K, Instagram: 236K
Twitter: 47K, Instagram: 206K, Facebook: 76K
Twitter: 19.6K, Instagram: 191K, Facebook: 4.7K
(photos by Jimmie48)