Marat Safin’s arrival on Twitter excites Lindsay Davenport, Judy Murray, Darren Cahill’s wife, and many more.
The world of Twitter is a mysterious one to some with its hashtags and “follow Friday” or “friend follow”, or whatever they are called. For many tennis players, though, it’s a good way of connecting with their fans and boosting their profile at the same time. Some players don’t need the help; Maria Sharapova would rather be seen dead than send a Tweet while Roger Federer doesn’t bother either (though his absence just makes @PseudoFed an even more hilarious spoof of the former world number one – “Everybody says I’m the best player ever and I like to agree”).
According to various surveys, the Twitter population consists of more women than men and if ever that statistic needs verifying, then the events this week will be of enormous reassurance as a certain Marat Safin made a tentative step into the Twittersphere.
The Russian, whose presence is sorely missed on the men’s tour both for his playing ability and for the character he showed on and off the court, had a legion of female followers when he was playing – who can forget the Safinettes? – and he is already well on his way to racking up the numbers in the ether, too.
Having resisted the temptation to connect for several years, Safin was finally convinced to join up by his sister, Dinara Safina, who said: “Do I get any reward for this?! It was not easy!! He is a tough one to convince of something!”
The response was as predictable as it was fast. “I’ve never seen my wife so interested in Twitter as she is today,” tweeted coach Darren Cahill. “Oh. Marat Safin just joined? Makes sense now.”
Former women’s number one Lindsay Davenport got in on the act, telling Cahill: “I’m with her” while Judy Murray, whose affection for Feliciano Lopez (sorry Judy, I mean “Deliciano”), has been known to embarrass her son, Andy Murray, was also quick on the button. “Oh my. Marat Safin is on Twitter,” she Tweeted. “Too much.”
At the time of writing, Safin had more than 4,000 followers and that number will surely rise quickly. Since retiring, the former world number one has become a politician, getting himself elected to the Russian Federal Government. On Monday, he promised to keep his political fans informed, saying: “When I have time, I will write about elections and my activities about it”.
Sarcasm and wit can often get lost in 140 characters but Safin showed he has lost none of his sense of humour. Responding to one follower who called him a “gorgeous man” he replied: “I am not that gorgeous, (but) the gorgeoust”.
If he holds to his promise to “read every Tweet” Safin may find himself nodding off in parliament but for those who miss him on the court, he will be making an appearance on the ATP Champions Tour when he plays in the Zurich Open.
Talking of comebacks, could we see former top-10 player Nicole Vaidosva back on court in the not-too-distant future? Since retiring, Vaidisova has only been mentioned as being the other half of Radek Stepanek. But according to Doug Robson, who writes for USA Today and who spoke to Stepanek recently, Vaidsova has begun practising and has the desire to come back.
Perhaps it’s the form of Petra Kvitova, her fellow Czech, that has inspired her; perhaps she’s bored. Whatever the reason, it would be good to see Vaidisova back and at 22, time is still on her side.