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Acing my way through the US Open: Updates on all the racket and sentiment

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Acing my way through the US Open: Updates on all the racket and sentiment

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With the first week of the US Open underway, I’m bringing new updates and insights on social sentiment via Watson Analytics for Social Media since our previous post on the racket about the US Open. As a new tennis fan, I’m getting a pretty good swing of things, by using social media analysis to help me discover and plug into what the trending conversations are all about.

While my social media analysis game is strong; I still can’t say the same for being able to hit a tennis ball in the right direction. I’ll have to set up a match between some of my tennis-playing colleagues to fail miserably at practice! If that doesn’t work out, we can play something I’m savage at like coffee shop trivia. I’m also mean on the scrabble board. Let’s be real here; I’m quite the pedal-to-the-metal daredevil. Bring it!

Let’s ace this tourney and dig deeper into mentions to see the sentiment trends

Here are a few observations surrounding the coverage. Overall, the conversations have appeared to steadily increase up to the first few days of the tournament. On August 16, the day Sharapova received her wildcard, her mention trend line spiked drastically, as well as on August 29, as she began to win her first few matches.

Likewise, Andy Murray experienced a spike in trend on August 26, the day of his withdraw due to injuries. The largest trending mention was that of Roger Federer on August 27 the day before the US Open, likely due to his highly-anticipated Grand-Slam mêlée versus Nadal. He has won all his singles matches since then, with Frances Tiafo (USA), Mikhail Youzhny (Russia), Feliciano Lopez (Spain), and Philipp Kohlschreiber (Germany).

US open mentions sentiment*Note, this is a visualization created in Watson Analytics after analysis with Watson Analytics for Social Media. When you get Watson Analytics for Social Media, you also gain access to Watson Analytics!

The social sphere’s Grand Slam pick using conversation clusters

When I zero in on the conversation clusters, where I can find out what is most important to the US Open audience, I can immediately see the highlights from frequent conversations, with the keywords “year final slam grand.” With the proper syntax, I can deduce that the “final year grand slam” is the conversation with the highest number of unique mentions by far. This tells me this is the US Open’s big kahuna – the conversation with the highest clout.

From the trending mentions, social media’s pick would be Federer. Yet we’ll need to watch and wait to see if Nadal can triumph over his longtime rival, which is considered possibly the greatest rivalry in tennis history, according to my perusal of the mentions. They’ve played each other 37 times (never at the US Open), with Nadal maintaining a 23-14 lead. However, many tennis analysts consider Federer the greatest player of all time, and he has clinched all 3 of his matches against Nadal this year.

Federer also won the Australian Open and his 19th Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2017. We’ll anxiously be waiting to see what happens when it comes to the court. Odds are looking good for a semifinal battle between the two as they both moved into the quarterfinals. Only one match now stands between a clash of the titans for their first ever US Open match.


US Open Federer mentions

The audience weighs in: We’re all bummed about Andy Murray

From the conversations clusters’ highlights view, I can construe that Andy Murray has withdrawn from the US Open because of an ongoing hip injury. I also notice that Milos Raonic has withdrawn likely because of a wrist issue.


US open sentiment mentions

Sentiment for Andy Murray’s withdrawal is negative. This is clearly not how fans wanted this to go. 30% of all conversations are negative, with around 25% positive. When compared to the US Open sentiment graph across all topics as a benchmark, all US Open conversations are only around 10% negative and 35% positive. The majority are neutral – my guess is that fans are plastered to the screen in anticipation of the semifinals.

US open murray mentions sentiment

Sentiment breakdown reveals that attitudes towards Maria Sharapova are mixed between positive and negative. Being a wildcard holder must be tough; as she is now in a fight to live up to expectation with her pass into the tournament, despite her first few wins. She is likely still batting off naysayers based on her 15-month ban for doping.

A tennis legend passes on her legacy

The mentions view and suggested themes are abuzz with news from the stork! Serena Williams gave birth to a healthy baby girl on Friday, September 1. Only time will tell if she someday makes her way to the tennis court like her amazing mom and aunt.

US open mentions serena sentiment

Want to tune into the conversation?

Check out our live September 7 Webcast! Click here to register for “What’s all that racket?  How to follow the conversation at the US Open.”



US Open updates from September 5-6, 2017

Hello there, tennis buffs! Since the last analysis, Watson Analytics for Social Media did another analysis for me with new players who were suggested by the tool itself. The great part in all of this is I didn’t have to choose – the themes chose me! Let’s have a closer look at some of the recent developments from August 27 – the day before the big event – up until September 5, with quick, big-ticket updates from September 6.

Federer’s semifinal snub

This time the mix of themes included a few players that we haven’t seen before in the analysis – largely based on the activity of the first week or so of matches and the recent baby news. Federer and Sharapova reign supreme as the top mention-worthy players, while Nadal comes third, then Denis Shopovalov, Karolina Plakova, Petra Kvitova, and Serena Williams. Venus Williams was also a top mention as she took the court: and won in her match against Greece’s Maria Sakkari, just hours after the debut of Serena’s new baby girl. Federer’s mentions largely included talk of a Grand Slam and his showdown against Juan Martin del Potro (Argentina) for the semifinal. And, much to the social-sphere’s mixed chagrin and celebration, the highly-anticipated Federer advancement into the semifinal was snubbed by del Potro. The social mentions are running rampant!


Del Potro Victory

 The audience weighs in: We’re positively thrilled about that baby, baby!

The Williams baby, by the way, has been received with overwhelmingly positive sentiment across all the data Watson Analytics for Social Media was able to scour. See how Serena is received versus the benchmark across all sources. There’s about a 30% increase in positive sentiment! Welcome to the world, baby. You already have fans!

Novak Djokovic also welcomed a baby girl on Sunday. He was often featured in articles alongside the Williams baby news, as it appeared in the mentions view. Congrats, dad Djokovic on your second kiddo!

Williams Baby

 The American Ladies are rocking the US Open!

The Williams sisters pop up in the mentions numerous times, as even with Serena’s absence, the most American women have reached the quarterfinals of a US Open since 2002. And, for the first time in 36 years, all four U.S. Open women’s semifinalists are American. Basically, the gals are taking the US Open to-the-court. These ladies include CoCo Vandeweghe, Venus Williams, Madison Keys, and Sloane Stephens.

Guess who’s hiding in the conversation clusters?

Among the conversation clusters was a keyword like no other: Watson. I’m going to take a wild guess, and surmise that it’s mentioned frequently because IBM powers the SlamTracker (available on the US Open website) to provide fans a live view with stats, scores, and point-by-point analysis, including data-rich visualizations of all the action. You also may have seen the SlamTracker at Wimbledon. This is a cool feature to take advantage of when you’re on the go and can’t get to a streaming service.

Conversation Cluster Watson

Bringing it back into Watson Analytics for further examination

Did you know that when you get Watson Analytics for Social Media, you also gain access to Watson Analytics? Watson Analytics for Social Media excels at understanding how your brand or product resonates across millions of data sources, while Watson Analytics can help you understand the “why” things happened, and help you discover new insights and relationships within your data with smart recommendations and rich visualizations. I thought I’d take advantage of this double deal and learn more about the data I was digging through.

First, I checked the mentions over the day (date) by type of source – whether the source URL was from blogs, Facebook pages, forums, news sites, reviews, Twitter, or videos to see what the is the preferred medium. There is a quick buildup of mentions just before the event, and predictably, the highest spike in mentions occurs on the first day of the event, with a high, but relatively stable number of mentions in the days after.

The point of this visualization is that videos are the preferred format for the US Open (with Twitter, then the news closely following). It seems natural that video is the medium of choice because the event has always been available to the public on TV, or, in recent years, streamed online. It is interesting that news isn’t higher on that list. That’s probably because the event changes so quickly. Tennis fans like to turn to an up-to-the-minute source with brief updates; a function that Twitter excels at.

Mentions by Source

One would expect that as more authors write and interact about the big event, we would see a growth in conversations around the same time. Not the case! The data is telling us here that the number of conversations is not proportional to author engagement on the same day. It could also indicate a likely lag in audience conversation, because the first two days of  the event see the most author engagement on August 28th and 29th, and then engagement drastically drops from August 30th and on. Meanwhile, the conversation size seems to dip low on the 27th, remain relatively low on the 28th, and then rise on the 29th and 30th with the appearance of the same spike as the previous days’ author engagement. Thereafter, conversation size drops again drastically from the 30th to the 31st, seemingly on a one-day delay from the author engagement, which dropped drastically from the 29th to the 30th. It then soars over author engagement. I would be curious to run another analysis over a longer period to see if the data truly is correlated and patterns emerge.

Author Engagement Conversation Size

I truly hope you enjoyed this foray into the world of tennis. As a new fan, I can say I LOVE-LOVE using social media data analysis to find insights. I feel more informed than ever before, and I’m ready to serve up scintillating conversation.

You want more sentiment insight, and we have it. Check out our webcast!

Click here to catch our webcast, “What’s all that racket?  How to follow the conversation at the US Open.”


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