It happened. Roger Federer, one of the last high-profile holdouts in tennis, has finally given in and joined Twitter.
The first four Twitter accounts he followed? All four Slams, of course. I guess he just really loves all those behind-the-scenes photos.
It will be interesting to see if Federer, who has a substantial online following on Facebook with more than 12 million fans, can overtake Rafael Nadal (4.3 million followers) to become the most followed tennis player. He’s already gaining a record number of followers by the minute, crossing the 100,000 threshold less than five hours after his first tweet.
The timing of Federer’s Twitter bombshell comes just a few days after he was rather dismissive of the social media service. After his loss to Nadal in the Italian Open final, an Italian journalist asked him about his serve speed.
“Roger, you say you are healthy and I am convinced you are,” the journalist began. “But the Twitter world is not convinced you are healthy and they cite to me the speed of your serve. First serve 174 kph, second serve 160 kph. What do you think about this?”
Federer took exception to the question.
“I’m not [Ernests] Gulbis,” he said. “I don’t know, [Jerzy] Janowicz serves 225 [kph] wide. I’m not going to be that guy. I need to work my points differently. I don’t know if these people have never seen me play before but they should know that the radar doesn’t always tell the story. Ask Rafa if he thought I served slower. He’ll give you the answer, and then you’ll silence the Twitter world, your friends.”
Now Federer doesn’t have to rely on journalists to act as his Twitter watchdogs: He can do it himself. And fans themselves can finally get to the bottom of why he doesn’t want to serve like Ivo Karlovic.
With Federer and Maria Sharapova joining Twitter this year, that leaves only a few relatively big name holdouts. Ana Ivanovic and Sam Stosur, both Slam champions, haven’t joined, preferring to keep their fans connected via Facebook.
If I had my choice, I’d start a petition to get Ernests Gulbis on Twitter. That guy has a lot of opinions. It’s time to let them fly.