With ‘#MatchInAfrica’ already mentioned over 9,000 times on social media, and 89 times in news articles this year across the globe, much excitement awaited those who were ready to watch 20-time Grand Slam champion, Roger Federer, and 19-time Grand Slam champion, Rafael Nadal, face off at the Cape Town Stadium. As the global leaders in media monitoring, Meltwater tracked news and social media mentions on ‘#MatchInAfrica’ since the beginning of the year, and conversations surrounding the riveting rivalry that fans were hoping to see. From the ‘friendly doubles match’ to watching the ‘greatest players square’ on the court, here’s how the media was highly anticipating the ‘#MatchInAfrica’.
It’s all love-love for ‘#MatchInAfrica’
As the excitement was brewing for the tennis match, both news publications and social media users had been sharing how they felt about it. Between 1 January to 6 February 2020, there were over 9,000 social media mentions on ‘#MatchInAfrica’.
South Africa was naturally dominating those mentions, leading with 23.84%. Rounding up the top three countries is the USA (6.09%) and India (3.91%).
Heat map of ‘#MatchInAfrica’ social media mentions across the globe.
While many people consider Federer and Nadal to be rivals, this match has only highlighted the love and support that the two tennis champions have with one another. In his Cape Town press interview on 5 February, Federer spoke of how Nadal was the only player who could have made the match special, outside of it also being Federer’s first time playing in sub-Saharan Africa.
‘Roger Federer’ and ‘#MatchInAfrica’ led social media mentions so far this year (56.3%) thanks to his recent post sharing his arrival in Cape Town on 5 February 2020, and brunch time tennis friendly with Springbok captain, Siya Kolisi, at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel on 6 February.
While ‘Rafael Nadal’ and ‘#MatchInAfrica’ received 43.7% of total global social media mentions, the Meltwater data indicates that it could increase as Rafael Nadal arrived in Cape Town.
Total social media exposure, globally, on ‘Roger Federer’ and ‘#MatchInAfrica’ (Blue - 56.3%) and ‘Rafael Nadal’ and ‘MatchInAfrica’ (Green - 43.7%).
With sold-out tickets for the tennis match, it’s no surprise that the excitement was on the rise since the end of January. With South Africa leading social media conversations on ‘#MatchInAfrica’, the sentiment of these mentions was overwhelmingly positive as they have welcomed Federer, who has a South African mother.
South African social media sentiment on ‘#MatchInAfrica’ in numbers.
From old and young, to avid fans of the sport, South Africa was positively engaging with ‘#MatchInAfrica’ as they echo the same excitement that Federer spoke of in his press interview.
Positive sentiment was the highest on 5 February, when Federer landed in Cape Town. But social media users also feel good about the once-in-a-lifetime experience in South Africa, and how it all has an even deeper purpose. In addition to offering South African fans a once in a lifetime experience in their home country, the event had a deeper purpose – to channel all profits to the Roger Federer Foundation’s educational efforts in rural areas in Southern Africa.
A doubles duel to remember
While the singles match between Federer and Nadal was much anticipated, some of the trending themes to emerge from ‘#MatchInAfrica’ included ‘friendly doubles match’ and ‘doubles’, with both referring to the pro-celebrity match between Roger Federer/Bill Gates and Rafael Nadal/Trevor Noah.
Global trending themes on social media for ‘#MatchInAfrica’
With Trevor Noah announcing his participation in the match on 29 January, the news was well-received by South Africans, and the world, which added to the positive sentiment expressed that day.
Globally, 266 news articles were written about ‘Trevor Noah’ and ‘Bill Gates’ being doubles partners to Nadal and Federer, respectively, for the match, while in South Africa, 97 news articles mentioned the celebrities.
Global news media exposure in numbers.
While global news mentions on ‘Trevor Noah’, ‘Bill Gates and ‘#MatchInAfrica’ saw traction on 29 January, when the celebrities were announced as the doubles partners, these mentions increased all the more on 5 February, the day when Federer landed in Cape Town, indicating that Federer’s presence in South Africa, the home country of Trevor Noah, was gearing the world up for a doubles match that had fans from around the world feeling the excitement.
Conversations in the news and social media to build up throughout the day for the ‘#MatchInAfrica’ are expected to continue. It was a expect a jam-packed event that’s sure to be one to remember.