Court records aren’t the only shots tennis players have to think about — their social media stats are now being tracked too. Through a partnership with IBM, the Australian Open has launched a “Social Leaderboard,” which ranks players using tweets. The board tracks Twitter to see which players are generating buzz. A tweet’s sentiment — positive or negative — is analyzed as well, and forms another aspect of a player’s ranking. There are a number of ways to examine the results, including sorting for daily results or by sentiment.
For a complete picture of what has been tweeted so far at the first Grand Slam of the year, here are the top 10 players overall, ranked by number of tweets.
10. Victoria Azarenka
The number 2 player in women’s tennis made it into the top 10 of the social leaderboard with over 78,000 tweets. Her Australian Open run ended in the quarterfinals when she was upset by Agnieszka Radwanska: 1-6, 7-5, 0-6. Throughout the event, Azarenka received a largely positive response on Twitter, with 68 percent of the Tweets about her being favorable.
9. Serena Williams
In the past 24 hours, sentiment has turned against the world top ranked women’s player as negative tweets outweigh positive. Roughly 1,000 overall have been posted in that time frame, a fraction of the 88,203 tweets about Williams throughout the tournament.
When the long-view is considered, Williams’ positive/negative split is 69/31. Williams entered the Open with high expectations, but lost in the fourth round to Ana Ivanovic: 6-4, 3-6, 3-6. Prior to their matchup at the Australian, Williams lead the head-to-head 4 to 0.
Williams has played in thirteen Australian Opens, and was the champion five times. Her loss was seen as opening the Slam to a wider range of players, and was one of the earliest upsets on the women’s side of the tournament. Speaking about her loss, Williams said during the match, she was trying the best she could. ”Maybe I wasn’t the best physically, but that had nothing to do with it. I think Ana just played a really good match. She did what it takes to win.”
8. Na Li
China’s top tennis player and the fourth highest ranked women’s player, Li is the first on the list to surpass 100,000 tweets. Overall reaction has been positive for Li 67 percent of the time. After easily winning her quarterfinal match against Flavia Pennetta 6-2, 6-2, Li has a date with Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the semi-finals.
If Li makes it past Bouchard, she will reach her third ever Australian Open final. She attributes her win over Pennetta to confidence she gained during an earlier round victory. “I got a lot of confidence because of being match point down against Safarova,” Li said. “Finally, I came back to win that match, and so of course I got a lot of confidence and belief in myself.”
7. Maria Sharapova
Another upset saw Sharapova’s tournament draw to a close before the quarterfinals. She went down in the fourth round to Dominika Cibulková: 6-3, 4-6, 1-6. In 2011, when the pair met at Wimbledon, Sharapova dismissed her opponent 6-1, 6-1. Sharapova’s loss further cleared the path to the women’s final.
The number three player on the women’s side exited early, but Sharapova is still a fan favorite, racking up more than 150,000 Tweets, 72 percent of which have been favorable.
6. Ana Ivanovic
As mentioned before, Ivanovic stunned the crowds when she defeated Serena Williams in the fourth round. The match set social media records at the Australian Open. There were 123,000 tweets sent during the match, and the Open says this makes it the most talked about match of the 2014 Slam.
Ivanovic has over 180,000 tweets to her name, and 81 percent are positive messages about the Serbian. Ranked 14th in the world, Ivanovic’s Australian Open ended in an upset of its own. Bouchard defeated Ivanovic in the quarterfinals: 7-5, 5-7, 2-6.
5. Juan Martin del Potro
Juan Martin del Potro made a shockingly early exit from the tournament, losing a hard fought 5 set battle to Roberto Bautista Agut. Agut’s triumph over the number five seed came in the second round: 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5.
In addition to not finding victory at the Australian Open, the Argentinean is not scoring a social media victory either. Over half (60 percent) of the nearly 190,000 tweets about del Potro have been negative.
4. Stanislas Wawrinka
Wawrinka’s win over Novak Djokovic proves that there is more than one Swiss who can win big in the tennis world. At first glance, the world’s number 8 beating the second best player may not seem like a huge stretch, but it is a feat Wawrinka had only accomplished twice in their 17 previous meetings. With his 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7 victory, Wawrinka is destined for a semi-final match with Thomas Berdych.
Wawrinka has accumulated impressive wins during the Open, and good sentiment on social media too. On Wednesday, 90 percent of the tweets about the Swiss were positive, and 85 percent of his 190,000 plus mentions are pro-Wawrinka.
3. Novak Djokovic
Beating Wawrinka on social media probably isn’t that great of a consolation prize, but with more than 306,000 tweets, Djokovic blows Wawrinka out of the water. The Serbian appears to be well liked so far, according to 79 percent who have been tweeting about him.
“I know that I fight all the way through and laid my heart out there. It’s a battle. One of us has to lose. He was, as I said, a better player. He stepped in and he won the match,” Djokovic said after his defeat. The loss ended not only his chances for the title, but a streak of 14 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals as well.
2. Roger Federer
The other Swiss fan-favorite takes second place on the Australian Open’s board. He beats his countryman in the sentiment department by 2 percentage points. At 362,970 tweets and counting, Federer’s social media mentions had the most activity during his quarterfinal meeting with Andy Murray.
The 6-3, 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 win over Murray puts Federer on track for his 33rd meeting with rival Rafael Nadal, a match Federer discussed following his quarterfinal victory.
“This one feels different because of the tougher times I’ve had in slams; Wimbledon, at the US Open. It’s nice to be back in the semis and defend my points from last year. Not that it matters at my age,” Federer, who is 32 years old, said.
1. Rafael Nadal
Nadal is by far the most mentioned player at the Australian Open. He has had 654,719 tweets featuring him so far, and 80 percent of the attention has been positive.
The Spaniard has regained the top ranking in the world, and looked dominant in his quarterfinal match. He may have dropped the first set to Grigor Dimitrov, but Nadal’s characteristic aggressive style of play led him to a 3-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-2 victory.
Both Nadal and Federer appear on form at the Open, and fans of each are eagerly anticipating their semifinal match. The event is certain to draw more social media response, and give people something to tweet about.