>> Friday, March 2, 2012
Novak Djokovic may have been the most accomplished ATP tennis player for 2011, but he was not the most popular. Using Google Insights to identify the volume of Internet search terms, two other veteran tennis players who are ranked lower than Djokovic are the world’s two most popular tennis players. However, the identities of these two tennis players are not a surprise but to keep the suspense, let’s count down the list of the seven most popular tennis players in the ATP tour.
#7 Most Popular Tennis Player – Andy Roddick. 2011 is the year that Andy Roddick failed to finish inside the top 10 rankings since 2001. It was also a year that Roddick did not contend in the Grand Slams. Still, the former #1 American is amongst the widely recognized tennis names. Roddick is most popular in Australia, USA, United Kingdom, Canada and Ireland. Interest for Roddick was highest during the US Open. Interestingly, the third search term used for searching Andy Roddick is “Brooklyn Decker”. The supermodel is Roddick’s better half.
#6 Most Popular Tennis Player – Juan Martin del Potro. Argentina’s 6’6” tennis star shocked the world in 2009 when he beat Roger Federer for his first and only Grand Slam win so far. Del Potro fell off the tennis radar in 2010 due to injury but bounced back in 2011 and earned the ATP Comeback Player of Year award. He finished 2011 as world #11 after falling to a low #257 in 2010. Del Potro is most popular in Argentina, Uruguay, Serbia, Spain and Peru. Interest in Del Potro was highest during the clay court season in May.
#5 Most Popular Tennis Player – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. France’s top tennis player finished in the top 10 for the third time in four years in 2011. He won two titles in Metz and Vienna and surprised everyone by beating Roger Federer in Wimbledon to reach the semifinals. In fact, the search term “Federer Tsonga” is the top search term for this tennis player. He is most popular in France, Switzerland, Serbia, the Czech Republic, United Kingdom and South Africa. Interest in Tsonga was highest during Wimbledon and in November when he reached the finals of the Paris tournament and London’s year end championships.
#4 Most Popular Tennis Player – Andy Murray. The 24-year old Scot has finished each year as the world’s #4 player since 2008. It is therefore not a surprise that he is the world’s fourth most popular tennis star. Murray captured 5 titles in 2011 in 6 finals appearances, and reached the semifinals or better in all four Grand Slams. Murray is most popular in the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and Serbia. Not surprisingly, peak interest for Murray was during his Wimbledon campaign. He also received a lot of searching when he reached the semifinals at the French Open and in the finals at the Australian Open.
#3 Most Popular Tennis Player – Novak Djokovic. The world #1 had a banner 2011 season winning three Grand Slam championships including his first titles at Wimbledon and the US Open. He won a career best 10 singles title in 11 finals contested, and became the first player to end the year as #1 other than Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal since Andy Roddick achieved the feat in 2003. He compiled a 41-match winning streak before losing to Federer in the semifinals of the French Open. Still, he is only ranked third in popularity. Top countries searching for Djokovic are Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Switzerland and Paraguay. Interest for Djokovic peaked during his Wimbledon and US Open campaigns.
#2 Most Popular Tennis Player – Roger Federer. The 16-time Grand Slam champion did not win a Grand Slam title in 2011 and he reached “only” one Grand Slam final. But his consistent play allowed him to finish within the top 3 for the 9th consecutive year. He won four tournaments during the year including a record 6th ATP year-ending championship trophy. He reached the quarterfinals or better in 14 of his 16 tournaments including all Grand Slams. Federer is most popular in Switzerland, Serbia, Paraguay, Macedonia and Bosnia Herzegovina – the same five countries where Djokovic is most popular in although in a different sort order. Interest for Federer was highest during the French Open when he dealt Djokovic his first loss for the season.
#1 Most Popular Tennis Player – Rafael Nadal. During Nadal’s first year as the top ranking tennis player, he wasn’t the most popular then. In fact, it was Federer who clung to that position but as it turns out, Nadal finally overtook Federer in the popularity contest. Amongst the top search terms for Nadal are “Federer Nadal” and “Djokovic Nadal”. Nadal is most popular in Spain, Serbia, Paraguay, Morocco and Argentina. Top interest for Nadal peaked during his French Open win and during his trips to the Wimbledon and US Open finals where he lost both to Djokovic on both occasions.