Rafa Nadal is a must follow
The great thing about twitter is you get to see the life of the players behind the scenes and share some of their thoughts.
And learn about everything from their philosophy to their favorite restaurants.
It’s a great mix of action photos, travel montage, news about charities and events they get involved in, and quirky, funny, even sentimental things they retweet or come up with themselves.
Each player shows a unique part of their world, and some of what you find there might surprise you.
Let’s get started on this jaunt around twitterspace to meet some of the players who could be adding something to the mix of your day—and who knows, if you follow them and send them a message, you might add something to their day too!
The World No. 1 starts with a nice caption on his twitter page: Laugh as long as you breathe, love as long as you live!
We know he likes laughing as well as making others laugh, but what else can we find out about Nole by checking out his Twitter feed?
There is a recent relaxed photo of the champion standing on a balcony overlooking the ocean and holding a tropical drink. The caption is: Hello #Brazil! I arrived to Rio today and all I can say is WOW. Cannot wait to see more :)
In Brazil he played an exhibition match against former world No. 1 Gustavo Kuerten. The pair also opened a public tennis training court in a disadvantaged section of Rio, and some starstruck children had the chance to play tennis with the two Grand Slam champions.
You will also see Nole with his 2012 ATP World Finals trophies, enjoying a night out, traveling by water to the London O2 Centre and in a hotel room using his laptop. A lot of information here—and that's from the pictures alone.
He is surprisingly photogenic and it's great to see another side of the guy who is such a fierce competitor on the tennis court.
Follow @djokernole because of his great photos and because of who he is. He comes in at No. 10 because he can't take first place in everything—in twitterspace some of the others have to have a chance!
Who wouldn't want to follow the World No. 1?
Andy after winning the US Open
On the tennis court and in twitterspace, not much separates World No. 3 Murray and his rival and friend Djokovic. They were born a week apart and have known each other since the age of 11.
While celebrities turn out for Andy's matches, everyone else is flocking to his twitter page where he now has 1.3 million followers—about the same number as Nole.
He starts us off with a huge smile (profile picture is from press conference after winning the US Open) and the words: I play tennis. Rather nice in an understated British kind of way.
To give a glimpse of life on tour, he posted these photos of Bernard Tomic channeling Houdini and doing magic tricks in the locker room during the Japan Open. This locker room is surprisingly unplush, and in fact Boris Becker chimes in with a tweet to that effect.
Andy puts a caption to the picture: his tricks are average at best [about Tomic].
He also tweets a picture of his scrabble board when he got a seven-letter word while playing against his girlfriend. Words on the board include the very British "quids" (which we know he has lots of) and a few one might be inclined to challenge the spelling of.
Back in May there is also this, with the caption: Only in France. It looks to be a plate of salad leaves, breadsticks and a few garden snails. (No wonder he didn't advance at the French Open. Maybe next year Rafa could recommend a restaurant?)
Follow @andy_murray because there is no one else like him. He and his twitter account are so unassuming—it's like someone from your high school who has a job at the local sporting club. There is no glitter and little glamour here, and somehow because of it we like him all the more.
But you could follow him for the profile photo alone—a combination of Neil Armstrong and someone who has just broken a world record.
Is there a zanier profile picture around?
Monfils lets you know where he is (recently Paris and London) and what he's doing. On any given day you might follow him waking up, checking what time it is, stretching, packing to travel, jumping into a cab, training, at a concert, celebrating or some combination of the above.
He asks his followers for suggestions for films and places to eat and then tells them where he went and what he thought of it.
Such specific detail, and tweets such as "it's 3:30" or "it's 0:00", might seem routine from someone else. But from Monfils, his good-natured exuberance makes you feel like you're part of his life and you want to be there, no matter what he's up to. And who doesn't want to know when it's midnight in Paris?
Follow @Gael_Monfils because everything he does seems to be a lot of fun. Entertaining messages from someone who doesn't hold much back. And who knows what his next photo might be.
Someone who holds even less back is Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. Although the photos here will be more soft focus than cutting edge.
The 31-year-old all-surface, big-serving player (who given the chance, might have won the 100th Davis Cup for Spain), sends through a whole mix of what is going down in his life.
There are not a lot of nights spent playing Scrabble here.
But that's just the surface.
Underneath it you will find posts on critical issues in Spanish politics, technical details about giving a urine sample to WADA (really), as well as a friendly message on Thanksgiving for his stateside fans.
On a given day there might be 15-to-20 posts. You get an almost hour-to-hour update of what he's up to and what he finds interesting.
Reason to follow @feliciano_lopez ? He might be the first thinking person's fashion idol. And you might follow him for being a thinking person alone.
Jerzy Janowicz has a completely different sort of life and you can learn all about it on Twitter.
He only started his account a few weeks ago, after reaching the final of the Paris Masters by beating five top-20 players in a row.
A post from November 5: My father made this account last week. But now he gave [it to] me to start my fan base :)
He now has 1000 followers, so he is on his way. He had a look around twitterspace and posted this about Rafa:
@RafaelNadal has 3,000,000 [followers]. I have a lot of tennis to play lol.
He reached out to followers for help on how to make his account official with Twitter, as he wouldn't want anyone to think it was a fake.
how do i make this official guys?
This is not a fake account for those asking, I will be official tomorrow, thank you.
according to twit, my account is getting verified tomorrow!
So by now he must have the blue check mark next to his name. I don't think Rafa needs to look over his shoulder just yet, especially since Jerzy also posted: My interview yesterday i said i hated social networking... is true lol
But regardless of that he is making a good start and what he shares is fun and entertaining. So if you want to get in on the ground floor with someone who might also be an extraordinary tennis player, this is the place to do it.
It's not glitzy, there's no film star wardrobe, there's not even a scrabble set. It looks like he has no idea how to do this, but actually he's doing a pretty good job. And it's fun that he lets us in on the process.
Follow @JanowiczJ because he seems a sincere guy, and with almost no backing somehow made it into the top echelon of tennis. And if you ever tried to do something with your life and had no idea how—following him might help find a way.
Let's face it, anyone who starts their Twitter page with: I was actually born very young...has to pique your interest.
Barring that, you would notice the world No. 9 for his tattoos or colorful eyewear alone.
But there's a lot more to him than that. On his Twitter page you will find a complex guy who mixes it up. He will give you jokes in the form of a flowchart: Should you Eat That Bacon?
Juxtaposed is some Nietzschean philosophy (really), where he adds his own punch line (about house music). Does any other tennis player do anything like that?
And there's much more—most of it highly original.
There are art house quality photos rivaling something out of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous (and why not), as well as photos in his house in Belgrade (including the ironing board), that look like they could be from just about anyone's living room.
Reason to follow @TipsarevicJanko ?
If not for the sense of humor, variety of photos, or existential philosophers, you might follow him for this picture from the player's lounge at Valencia. Who else in the world is going to send you that?
By far the wittiest tennis star on Twitter.
Bob and Mike Bryan with Olympic gold medals
Mike Bryan's byline tells you what you need to know:
Olympic Gold Medalist, 12 time Grand Slam Doubles Champion & Member of 8 time World Number 1 team, founded Bryan Brothers Foundation, guitarist Bryan Bros Band..
So if you want a dose of Americanisms (like three-peat) and a look into the California lifestyle, you won't find anything more elaborate or more enthusiastic than what the Bryan brothers put out there.
There is a nice Thanksgiving message and one from Black Friday where you don't just get one photo but several including the baby and the kitchen sink (literally).
With so many pictures, videos and comments, you need a lot of time to begin to look through it. You see them not only playing tennis, but playing in their band and spending time with their family. There is also news of other tennis players like Mardy Fish and Ryan Harrison.
The Bryans hold the all-time record for doubles Grand Slam trophies and have won more matches and titles than any other partnership.
Doubles tennis deserves more attention and these guys might be able to accomplish that too.
Reason to follow @Bryanbros and @Bryanbrothers?
Wherever they are and whatever they are doing, they always look incredibly happy. Can life really be that much fun? Worth following to see that alone.
The original bad boy of tennis is still going strong. Playing styles have changed since the 70s (and so have tennis fashions), but Jimmy Connors still speaks his mind.
But maybe he's softened a bit.
The player who once said: "People don't seem to understand that it's a damn war out there. Maybe my methods aren't socially acceptable to some, but it's what I have to do to survive. I don't go out there to love my enemy. I go out there to squash him." (via The Tennis Space)
And also, “I like to have the fans against me. I want to do everything I can to get them against me more. When they’re yelling at me, I really get into the match.”
His Twitter feed might be more sedate, but that doesn't mean it's less interesting,
You will learn that he watches a lot of football, walks his dogs, works out and is writing an autobiography.
He comments on the current crop of players and analyzes matches as they play out. He was happy to see Federer win Wimbledon at age 30 and had this comment for Andy Murray: Fred Perry is still resting easy.
So some of that cutting edge is still there.
He has advice for current players and predictions for who might break through. It's all unguarded and transparent, which is refreshing to read and follow.
A recent message is: I admit it-- I married a great cook. That's not all--- but I will leave it at that. My turn for the dishes.
If he washed any dishes in 1975, the world didn't hear much about it. But Jimmy Connors' world has changed, and it looks like he's changed with it.
Why follow @JimmyConnors? It's a great twitter feed from a guy with personality and intelligence. And the ability to tell you something about himself as well.
The former world No. 1 also seems genuinely happy.
Stanislas Wawrinka playing Roger Federer at the Shanghai Masters
A certain Swiss 17-time Grand Slam winner doesn't have a presence on twitter. His compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka does, and he's worth following for the eclectic and wide-ranging messages alone.
There is no byline. So if you don't know he's a tennis player when you come to his page, he's not going to tell you. But he will tell you and show you plenty of other things.
Like this, with the caption What we see is a fraction of what ordinarily is. Who Azziz D is I don't know, but he tweets in French and English, wears sunglasses and has about 700 followers.
You don't have to follow him yourself because Stan will send through some of his posts, like: You can't start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.
Funny and thought-provoking in a catchy sort of way.
Stan will also be sending you this: In bed: It's 7:00, you close your eyes for 5 minutes, it's 8:45. At school: It's 2:30, you close your eyes for 5 minutes, it's 2:30. Originally tweeted by someone called "Not Will Ferrell."
He also retweets messages his followers send him, whether they are asking for prayers, publicity, paying him a compliment or telling him to quit tennis.
There are some back-and-forth conversations and photos of other players and links to live scoring of tennis matches.
While most other players follow 20-to-40 others, Stan follows over 300. So in addition to catching up with him (which is interesting too), you can catch a lot of other things that are out there.
Follow Stan @stanwawrinka because he obviously has a great sense of humor, and where else would you find this kind of comedy mixed with some useful positive-thinking advice?
Nadal's profile photo shows him on an expanse of his favorite clay court, with the caption tennis player, (just in case there is anyone out there who doesn't know).
His 3.5 million followers might exceed everyone else on this list put together.
Almost like personal greeting cards he shares with his friends.
And some candid photos from his beloved Mallorca. There's not much calling for existential philosophy here.
For a closer idea of what is here take a look at the first few minutes of this tribute video, retweeted by Rafa.
Entitled Someday I'll be Back it begins showing Rafa losing in the second round of Wimbledon to the 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol.
Set to the sound track of Here Without You, it could be the ultimate fan tribute piece.
If you have missed seeing him in action, you will find some great footage. And just before the video's two minute mark, he hits the shot to win a semifinal match.
His happiness and smile in the moments that follow say it all.
Rafa, on court and off, connects with so many fans and followers, and connects with them so deeply. That is reason enough for him to capture the top spot here.
The fans truly love him. And what's not to love?
Follow the Spanish star @RafaelNadal The king of clay is also a king in twitterspace.
I hope you have enjoyed this visit into twitterspace.
If you had to choose just one?
It might be between Feliciano Lopez's intelligent news and engaging photos, and Janko Tipsarevic's existential philosophy and house music jokes.
Perhaps the youtube fan video of Rafa would have to win? There you have rocking music, a true story along with a great smile.
And you don't have to choose just one, since fortunately there's a lot out there to like and discover:
@Bryanbros and @Bryanbrothers
Thanks for following along.
(note: some information and captions have been translated from french and spanish)