According to The World Bank the total population of the planet exceeded 6.8 billion people in 2010. These 6.8 billion people occupy what the U.S. State department recognizes as 195 countries, not including Taiwan. For my purpose, I will include Taiwan, because I have no political motivation for this topic, which leaves us at 196 total countries. Tennis is, in my opinion, a truly global sport. There are 132 nations represented in the current Davis Cup rankings, and 145 Member National Associations in the International Tennis Federation. This means roughly 74% percent of the recognized nations are actively participating in tennis.
Most tennis fans are very dedicated to their favorite players, and a lot of the time those players represent their nationality. Tennis literally spans the globe, as a tennis professional could be in New York City on the second Saturday in September playing in the U.S. Open, and two days later that same person could be playing at the Royal Sydney Golf Club, representing their country at Davis Cup. So goes the story of life on tour; jumping from continent to continent, but so too goes the life of the tennis fan.
The two lives run in parallel, not always together, but along the same path. In today’s ever connected world of social media, the tennis fan is never too far behind the tennis player. Whether connected via a Facebook update, or Twitter feed, tennis fans are never out of the loop.
Being a tennis fan is truly hard work. Lost hours of sleep, lost production at work, are all part of the world in which a tennis fan thrives. Whether it is a Facebook update from one of the top players, or a tweet from @DjokerNole, somehow everyone is part of this small community that spans the globe.
Tennis can be difficult to find on TV, or at a reasonable time, depending on where home is located. In the United States, the Tennis Channel isn’t always available to everyone, and ESPN doesn’t necessarily cover every angle. However, with the number of available websites offering live streams; most can find a way to watch the challenger tournament in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Dallas, Texas or the Masters 1000 in Indian Wells, California. Whether it is 12:30 am in the United Kingdom or 5:30 pm in Los Angeles, there will always be a tennis fan watching somewhere and more than likely that person will be tweeting live scores.
How is this possible? As tennis fans know, there is a growing community taking shape on Twitter, a unique opportunity to connect with new friends, sharing a common passion. There are a multitude of blogs that provide updates on a fan’s favorite players; and most can even connect directly into the tournament pressroom, where Twitter updates provide in depth coverage minute by minute.
Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal have each surpassed 10 million Facebook followers, and recently Novak Djokovic has started a fan based “Photo Journey with Nole.” The top players in the world have definitely elevated the profile of the sport, because of their willingness to interact with media and fans alike. Roger Federer is one of the most recognizable people on the planet, and he is also one of the most accessible players on the tour. Federer’s countless hours signing autographs for fans, provides a unique experience, and in turn, that fan may turn around and blog about that experience. That blog is shared by fans all over the world, and provides each person a unique opportunity to connect with a similar story.
Tennis fans are truly unique, and share that trait with a passionate global community, whether it is the middle of the night, or at work on a live stream.