bleacher report

Serena Williams: nice to see her again?

Another guest post from James Christie, Content Writer at Social Media Agency No Pork Pies. James takes a look at social media conversations about tennis player Serena Williams’ return to Wimbledon – the place she regards as her second home

Former Wimbledon champion Lyndsey Davenport was on television yesterday, telling BBC Wimbledon viewers that Serena Williams’ return from injury is “good for the sport”.

Serena Williams herself was interviewed at the start of the tournament, also saying that her tennis comeback is “good for the sport”.

But are these views representative of most tennis fans’ opinions – do the majority of the sport’s watchers really want to see another Wimbledon dominated by a Williams sister.

I used social media monitoring tool Brandwatch to gauge sentiment about Serena – a player who tend to rip up the form book every time the grass court season comes around.

On Monday, 20 June th (the opening day of the tournament) defending champion Serena received 1,648 mentions across social networking sites and news outlets.

A short and pithy article in The Bleacher Report compared Serena to Tiger Woods – highlighting how both have taken off a year from their sport to ‘rehab’ (nice to see this word used as a verb!)

The article also mentioned Serena’s many business interest outside the game. Could these distractions affect sentiment regarding her?

On Tuesday, it became apparent that her busy life hadn’t affected her form enough for her to lose the first round of the defence of her title.

Response to her victory, which she marked with tears of relief, resulted in 3,718 mentions. Were the tears a little melodramatic? Most Twitterers, in the immediate aftermath at least, didn’t seem to think so – there were only 38 negative mentions, the worst of which was arguably “she wears the most ridiculous tennis gear”.

Negative comments during the week studied were consistently low (like a good sliced backhand); implying that there is a very small, hardcore group of people immune to Serena’s charms!

The positive comments, in contrast, leapt up after the win (she received 71 on Monday and over 200 on Tuesday).

Cheepcheepbird’s tweet contained mixed praise: “Serena has painted her nails in Wimbledon colours, they look fab but how does she play tennis with such long talons?”

On Thursday, when Serena again came from a set down to triumph, it was clear that some people had had time to reflect on the tears she shed after her first-round win. Hdbaling tweeted: “Serena Williams you are such a diva!! Ur an athlete, not a drama queen!”

But Alex Raven’s Twitter message was more typical of most social networkers’ reaction. He said: “How can Serena play with those earrings in?”

135 years of ladies fighting for equal pay at Wimbledon and still all people want to talk about the defending champion’s nails and jewellery.

You get the feeling that Serena – with her love of fashion – won’t mind too much!