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Social Media – And Tennis Grand Slams

Social Media – And Tennis Grand Slams

I’m sure my wife was wondering when I was going to write a blog post on tennis ;). Let’s consider the tennis Grand Slams in order of my preference:

  1. US Open – Known to be the most grueling of the Slams regarding heat, distractions, rowdy New York crowds, pressure under the lights for night matches that can go into the wee hours. The surface is hard court, so there is no overt advantage granted to baseliners or serve-n-volleyers (a dying breed). Truly rewards an all-court game.
  2. Australian Open – The surface is hard court, so again no overt advantage to a particular style of play. Laid-back atmosphere and friendly wagers on just about anything tennis. Heat can be overbearing to the point they close the stadium roof. Outlier to other grand slams both in geography and timeframe (other 3 happen from May – September).
  3. Wimbledon – The surface is grass, so the advantage used to be to the serve-n-volleyer. The game has changed now, so the dominant style is baseliner or all-court. Advantage goes to the quick strike, offensive player because there is very little chance to play defense due to the overall speed of the surface. Wimbledon is about tradition, “tennis whites” and royalty. Most tennis players grow up wanting to win this Grand Slam above all others.
  4. French Open – The surface is clay, so the advantage is to the patient baseliner and “clay court specialists”. Shots that would be winners on any other surface “sit up” and give you time to track them down. Because of this, players with the greatest patience and stamina generally win these with geographic advantage going to players from Europe or South America due to the availability of the red clay. The location is Paris, so the atmosphere is about knowledgeable tennis fans that will rain down the catcalls if you behave badly as a tennis player. Big name players introduce new tennis clothing styles at this Grand Slam because it resides in a city known for style.

So what can Grand Slams teach us about social media:

1. Choose a Style

Are you a “we can be here all day” baseliner, an elegant serve and volleyer (Stefan Edberg was fantastic) or my personal favorite…the all-court player? Can your followers/fans/friends count on you for input each day, or will they just get occasional nuggets of wisdom from you. How about a little bit of both? Keep your presence fresh and consistent on all your chosen social media channels.

2. Choose a Platform

Can you grind out blogs on a consistent basis with quality content like a fit clay court tennis player grinds down the opposition? Are you better suited for micro-blogging at 140 characters or less with Twitter like a classic serve-n-volleyer shortens the point on grass courts by coming to net? Do you use a product like HootSuite to work on your “all platform” game with cross posts to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and FourSquare like a player that can play on all surfaces?

3. Choose a Strategy

Roger Federer always seems to play the right shot at the right time. Two of my favorite players of all time, Agassi and Hingis, played a cerebral game based upon percentages and reducing unforced errors.  Other players can hit a winner off of every stroke from anywhere on the court (Agassi in “denim and long hair” days or Fernando Gonzalez). Here is one from Andy Roddick…

Do you try to hit the winner on each tweet or Facebook status by promoting products and services every time? Or are you willing to build relationships with your followers/friends/fans by asking questions, conducting polls, offering retweets for content produced by other thought leaders? “Play the percentages” that good relationships are good business!

4. Build Endurance

Players like Nadal will simply wear down the opponent both mentally and physically. They are prepared to run down every shot and not concede anything to the opponent. How about this one from Mikhail Youzhny…

Are you prepared to cross-train for your social media interactions by doing proper research for blogs and following trends to stay ahead of the social media curve regarding capabilities of current social media channels as well as new ones coming our way (Quora is an example that I haven’t delved into yet myself).

5. Play Well Under the Lights

Agassi and Connors were two people who loved playing under the New York lights at the US Open. They played better when they knew everyone was watching and engaged. McEnroe also played well, but behaved differently under pressure sometimes :)

How well are you handling controversy and opposing views on your blog posts? How about attacks or genuine customer service issues with your brand and products? Are you gracious and accommodating or are you attacking the opposing view or debating the authenticity of the customer service issue? How you handle pressure in the social media realm, with everybody watching and the “rowdy crowd” of the Internet ready to rain down catcalls if you behave badly, will define your continued success!

So what is your favorite tennis Grand Slam? What is your favorite tennis surface and social media platform? Do you like quick interaction or working the point/relationship? Join the discussion with your comments…

Photo Credit: 152 by asterix611, on Flickr

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Brian Vickery

I love my Vickery Girls - and grandsons! My career has blessed me to the point I was able to start a new consultancy in 2018: Analytic Integrity. I look to provide analytic experience, and business integrity, to an Analytics world while helping data-driven organizations mature. I enjoy teaching and coaching, watching football and basketball, and playing tennis. I graduated UT-Austin.

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  1. Great post that joins two of my favorite subjects!

    • I thought you might like that one, Marie! Now, if only I could have squeezed wine into the conversation, huh? Well, there is always the after-match celebration or drowning sorrows!

  2. Okay so I found the post. Since I’ve listed mine not knowing you had posted yours I guess our answers are certainly our answers. And it looks like we only agree on the first. Interesting that it is the one “in the states”. Not sure if that plays a part in it our not or if its the fact that in the tennis world the US is certainly the most uncouth group. As far as the play of the game is concerned, I’m certainly more of the serve and volley technique guy. Becker probably being one of my all time favorites. I would have to agree with your summation of players. I love the fact that Agassi and Sampras truly went out at the top of their respective games. One of the ones that i feel most sorry for is Jennifer Capriati. She had such a successful future in store. I do think there is a “changing of the guard” coming so its hard for me to thing who might be the next up and comer or the next good rivalry. I think Federer is almost done, not sure about Rafa. Truly a young persons game now-a-days.

    • Becker was a personality, but Edberg was a lot more graceful at the net. Their finals matchups were always compelling. I was more sorry for Seles because her career was interrupted by an idiot vs Capriati getting interrupted because she made bad choices. I was happy for her brief return to win a couple Grand Slams. Now if only some of our 6-5+ guys would establish the stronger work ethic (Isner, Querrey, etc.). Fish could show them some tricks based upon his recent revival. Shame Roddick had to be one-n-done. He really deserved to win a Wimbledon, but he ran into a Federer buzzsaw. Otherwise, he has been a very hard worker, and a good interview, but not willing to actually change his game. He is too predictable.


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