Mats Wilander

Enjoy the second edition of Break Point, our monthly roundup of the best tennis-related articles on the web:

- 7-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander turned 50 on August 22nd, learn more about his life as a tennis vagabond in this Men’s journal article.

- another veteran player, Pat Cash talks about life on the Seniors tour: A Week With Tennis Champions: Private Planes, Celebrities and Locker Room Gossip

- ever wondered what it’s like to be a ballboy at the US Open? Enjoy this Grantland post: I Tried Out to Be a US Open Ball Boy and Saw Dave Chappelle, and All I Got Were These Two Lousy T-Shirts.

- in May 1984, six of the world’s Top 10 were American, as were 24 of the Top 50. 30 years later, there are only 3 Americans in the top 50, with a chance at winning a Slam really close to 0. Can US Men’s Tennis Rise Again?

- the story of Irish player James McGee, who qualified for the main draw of the US Open for the first time of his career: James McGee rekindles fond memories of grinding out wins in Gabon as he aims for the bright lights. Also James great blog post on financing the tour.

- why Wimbledon defeats the #USOpen game, set and match in the social media arena, by Tennis Buzz contributor Andreas Plastiras.

- and finally, Mauro’s article on how Stefan is transforming Federer into an “Edberg 2.0″

Photo credit: Margaret

Andy Murray

This year’s US Open could be the last Grand Slam tournament Andy Murray plays in adidas clothes as his current contract with adidas expires this November.

Murray signed with adidas in 2009 (his previous clothing sponsor was Fred Perry) and since then he has become a British hero after his victories at the Olympics and the US Open in 2012 and his triumph at Wimbledon in 2013.

According to Business Week Murray’s current agreement with adidas paid him a reported $16.5 million over five years, with bonuses possibly boosting the value as high as $5 million per year.
In comparison, Federer’s Nike deal is reportedly worth as much as $13 million a year, with a base value closer to $10 million. Rafael Nadal gets a reported $7 million per year.

The Daily Record projects that Murray’s next deal may be worth up to $83 million, a substantial increase in money.

I guess adidas will do everything they can to sign Murray otherwise they won’t have any top male players wearing their clothes.

Get to know the man who marks history, one letter at a time, All England Club trophy engraver Roman Zoltowski:

This video is part of Stella Artois Perfectionnists series, watch the brilliant video featuring Rufus the Hawk here.

This is a guest post by Spencer Blohm. If you’d like to contribute to Tennis Buzz as a writer or a photographer, please contact us.

Following Andy Murray’s triumph last year at Wimbledon, much of the world has their eye on him, hoping that he will provide an encore performance this year. So far, so good, as he’s reached the quarterfinals following his victory against Kevin Anderson on Monday. It’s just the latest in the four matches he’s won so far at Wimbledon. Murray, for one, isn’t one to compare his current performance to his victorious run last year, telling The Guardian “I don’t really look back and compare,” which might be the best policy to avoid psyching himself out.
The rest of the world though, is following Murray with anticipation. Following his win last year, Twitter is buzzing whenever he plays. As you can see from this graph from social media tracker Topsy, every day Murray plays, mentions of his name skyrocket on Twitter.

Murray mention on twitter

One of Murray’s sponsors, adidas, is looking to follow up their success on Twitter last year with their hashtag #AndyMurray, which got 30,000 mentions during the final match which Murray won. This year adidas is promoting Murray on their main Twitter account as well as the accounts they have for adidas Tennis and adidas UK.

Of course, it isn’t only Murray and his sponsors who are using social media to their advantage during the tournament. This year is arguably the year of social media at the stories tennis tournament. Wimbledon, for the first time ever, will feature user generated content on the screens on Henman Hill, which they hope will encourage interaction from both fans at the event, and those watching from home. They have been using this social media interaction during the television broadcasts of the tournament to encourage even more interaction with the approximately 378.8 million people in 198 territories that tune into to the tournament.
All of this is being powered at the “Social Command Centre” which is run by IBM SoftLayer. At the Command Centre, they’re tracking trending topics, hashtags, where the tweets are coming from, and which courts are getting to most mentions. That being said, there’s a focused effort to keep tennis first, and to not let the increase of social media and online interaction overshadow the main event and players. Content and communications manager for Wimbledon, Alexandra Willis, told the Telegraph,

“We at Wimbledon wouldn’t want to put screens around Centre Court, displaying tweets and doing that sort of thing, because when someone is on Centre Court it’s sacred ground, and they are there to watch the tennis”

Beyond the social media aspect, live streaming will play an important part of watching this years tournament. While cable and media companies like BBC in England, ESPN, and DirecTV in the States have comprehensive coverage on television, they’ve all started to feature online streaming on their websites for the less high profile matches. Of course, there is always a connectivity issue that comes with live streaming so you can try here to learn more about the Wimbledon mix that DirecTV is offering for tournament coverage, and ESPN is also showing extensive Wimbledon coverage in HD for those who have that channel. Of course, you can always go straight to the source, the Wimbledon official website that is, for more in depth analysis and live streaming if you’re a true tennis buff.

It’s worth noting that, as of right now, Murray isn’t the social media king of the tournament, that honor actually goes to Roger Federer. The Wimbledon Social Command Centre reported to The Standard that so far during this tournament, Federer has the top influencer slot at the tournament which they calculated “using factors such as response times to his activity on Twitter, mentions and following.”
Perhaps that’s because he’s one of the few top competitors able to stay in play on the game-changing grass courts at Wimbledon – after all, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and now Rafael Nadal have all been eliminated! We’ll have to stay tuned to see if his two competitors in social media influence (Murray and Novak Djokovic in second and third respectively) can beat him online, or more importantly, on the court.

You might also like: Twitter and Wimbledon 2014, what have the players been up to?

Evian x RIZZLE KICKS

Evian has created a music video by the hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks featuring Maria Sharapova, as the centrepiece of a new Wimbledon-themed marketing campaign:

Do you like it? What do you think of the video?

Rufus the hawk

Last month, Stella Artois announced that it would be the official beer sponsor of Wimbledon up until 2018 and to make the announcement they’ve been releasing short videos featuring ‘Perfectionists’.

The first video features pigeon-scaring hawk Rufus. Hats off to the Stella Artois marketing department, this advert is simply stunning:

The second video of the series features Liam Nolan and Nate Ferguson, the fastests tennis racket stringers: