Wimbledon 2021: Which Tennis Stars are Winning on Instagram?

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Djokovic may be ATP’s world #1 tennis player but Nadal is serving the ace on Instagram
WTA’s #8 Williams tops our Instagram Index but has the lowest engagement rate
Despite ranking only third on the index, Federer wins the most popular post of 2020/21 with over 1.6 million likes

The 2021 Wimbledon Championship is back on our screens from June 28 - July 11, where the crème de la crème of tennis players will take to the grass court to vie for the coveted Gentlemen’s Singles Championship and Venus Rosewater Dish trophies. But for fans to get closer to their favourite tennis stars, access is not just confined to the four walls of Centre Court. Tennis players have found a new way to get closer to their fans: on Instagram.

The stakes are high to see who will be crowned this year’s champions but in the meantime we’ve delved deep into data to reveal who’s winning on Instagram. Novak Djokovic might be the ATP’s world #1 but Rafael Nadal has both more followers (11.22m+) and follower growth (+1.85m) than his competitors, and also posts more regularly than anyone else in the men’s field. Matteo Berrettini has the highest engagement with fans whereas Daniil Medvedev, ATP’s #2, scored quite low across all rankings.

Serena Williams is #8 in the WTA rankings but is the most popular of the female tennis stars with 13.24m+ followers and most likely to post regular content, on par with Aryna Sabalenka. Naomi Osaka is gaining the most followers (+1.32m in the last year) while Iga Świątek is the player who’s most engaged with her fans. WTA #1 Ashleigh Barty scored fairly low across the board.

Read on for the full index to find out which of the world’s best tennis stars are serving an ace on Instagram - and who’s outperforming the competition.

Instagram Champions (Men) - Top 3

Instagram Champions (Men) - Top 3Instagram Champions (Men) - Top 3

Instagram Champions (Women) - Top 3

Instagram Champions (Women) - Top 3Instagram Champions (Women) - Top 3

Most Popular Instagram Posts of the Last Year

Roger Federer is a ‘good sport’ with his most-liked Instagram post celebrating his greatest rival’s 20th Grand Slam victory, attracting 1.65m+ likes

Serena Williams’ most liked post featured her three-year-old daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. taking to the court to show off her tennis skills, attracting 1.51m+ likes

Which Tennis Stars are Winning on Instagram? - The Index in Full

Totoal number Total Instagram Followers
Totoal number Followers Growth in the Last Year
Totoal number Number of Posts in the Last Year
Totoal number Most Popular Post in the Last Year
Totoal number Engagement Rate

Instagram Index Ranking - Male Tennis Stars

PlayerATP RankingsAge
Totoal number
Growth number
Posts number
Popular number
Engagement rate
Score
Rafael Nadal33411,220,7591,856,7591701,368,1102.3489.6
Novak Djokovic1348,412,2981,070,298111952,2425.4485.7
Roger Federer8398,357,253652,253271,656,6967.2381.3
Stefanos Tsitsipas4221,346,375468,37568548,4958.4478.4
Dominic Thiem5271,413,853313,85386445,7025.9976.4
Alexander Zverev6241,260,174189,17487300,8036.4274.7
Matteo Berrettini925300,796104,7967871,64713.9573.4
Daniil Medvedev225520,938177,93893122,9666.8271.7
Andrey Rublev723246,742133,7423850,61012.0968.4
Roberto Bautista Agut1033114,32018,320829,2793.8455.1

Instagram Index Ranking - Female Tennis Stars

PlayerATP RankingsAge
Totoal number
Growth number
Posts number
Popular number
Engagement rate
Score
Serena Williams83913,244,594897,7111581,511,5332.2389.7
Naomi Osaka2232,488,6241,324,597125837,4059.5487.1
Iga Świątek920415,531385,531130196,13016.1183.5
Aryna Sabalenka423221,92484,36115844,1049.9575.2
Elina Svitolina626749,534130,462100158,4604.8273.1
Simona Halep3291,657,49179,49160104,9802.4568.7
Karolína Plíšková1029400,93919,58213224,0222.9767.1
Sofia Kenin522212,34362,3434936,3328.7564.6
Ashleigh Barty125247,50727,6188331,6345.4364.5
Bianca Andreescu720674,034-3,0593698,3496.6959.4

Methodology: How The Tennis Stars Were Ranked

The ‘Which tennis players are winning on Instagram?’ ranking includes the ATP and WTA rankings for both male and female tennis players, respectively.

Players Selection

Based on top 10 ATP & WTA Rankings June 14, 2021.

Factors and Scoring

In order to assess which tennis stars are winning on Instagram, five factors were examined and a score was calculated for each one.

Total Instagram Followers

Number of followers in an account in June 2021 - to assess the players’ popularity with fans on Instagram.

Followers Growth in the Last Year

Number of followers added to an account since June 2020 - to understand which players are gaining or losing popularity with fans over the last year.

Number of Posts in the Last Year

Number of posts added to an account since June 2020 - to illustrate how active the tennis players are on social media.

Most Popular Post in the Last Year

Number of likes for the most popular post in an account since June 2020 - to see which tennis players are producing the most ‘likeable’ content.

Engagement Rate

The average rate of followers who engaged with posts (likes, comments) in an account in the last 180 days - to understand how fans are engaging with each of the tennis players.

The variables “Total Instagram Followers”, “Followers Growth in the Last Year” and “Most Popular Post in the Last Year” suffered from an extreme range. To compensate for this, the data was transformed using a logarithmic scale. As some observations were negative, a constant, in the absolute value of the minimal observation in each variable plus 1, was added to each observation. The formula for this was as follows: = log(x + | min { min {X} -1 , 0 } | ).

Then, all the variables were normalized using min-max normalization. For every variable, the minimum value was transformed into a 0, while the maximal value was transformed into a 1, all other values were transformed into a decimal between 0 and 1. The formula for the normalization was = x – min{X} / max{X} - min(X).

At this point, the values of all variables were added together to create an aggregated score between 0 and 5. To ease the interpretation, the final results were scaled to the range between 50-100 points as follows = X*10+50.