Novak Djokovic was the only Western tennis player on Weibo to celebrate the Chinese New Year festival. Other tennis players online, including the top two ranked women’s players Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, as well as Andy Murray, all failed to recognise the Chinese festival. Li Na, China’s biggest tennis star for the last 5 years, was also guilty of failing to wish her Weibo fans a Happy Chinese New Year. Following her retirement from the game, Novak Djokovic is now the most followed active tennis player online in China.
A Local Touch
Novak posted a variety of engaging and bespoke China content for the festival. The most popular was a traditional Chinese New Year image shared with a New Year greeting and Chinese characters. Two videos of him wishing the Chinese #NoleFam# a Happy New Year also added a personal touch, and were viewed 11,000 times.
How The Fans Responded
Novak’s Chinese New Year content was extremely successful with his China #NoleFam#, reaching a record level of engagement, more than double average (based on non-Chinese New Year content in the same period). With almost 10,000 total shares, comments, and likes, at an average engagement of just under 2,000 p/post, the Chinese fans showed their appetite for local content. To put that into perspective, that is around five times greater than Real Madrid and Barcelona’s average engagement over the same period.
Over the Chinese New Year period, Novak Djokovic’s accounts grew by 1,400 new followers, meanwhile, other active tennis stars’ lack of Chinese New Year recognition was reflected in a drop of followers; with Maria Sharapova -700, Caroline Wozniacki -380, Andy Murray -370 and Victoria Azarenka -330 fans respectively.