Federer may be losing more than his number #1 ranking

Roger Federer, considered by many to be the Tiger Woods of tennis, became the number one ranked player on February 2, 2004.  During his historic 237 consecutive weeks as the top ranked player, Federer has set a number of records and by the time he retires is likely to be considered the greatest tennis player of all time.  However, after an early exit at the Cincinnati Masters and a streak of strong performances by Rafael Nadal, the likeable, if not boring Federer will end his reign as the top player when the new rankings are released on August 18th.   With few legitimate challengers for the top spot over the past four and half years, Federer has established himself as the most popular figure in men’s tennis.   In the wake of Nadal’s ascension to the number 1 ranking, Spock looked into the people search figures for Federer and Nadal.

In analyzing the Google Search Volume Index, Federer has been the more popular figure over the past year, posting a score of 1, as opposed to Nadal’s .65.  However within the index numbers, Nadal saw his search query volume rise to a high of 7.5, and an average of .95 over the past thirty days compared to Federer’s high of 5.3 and average of 1.  Among blogs, Nadal saw a similar increase in traffic, where over the past month he saw a 4% growth in the number the blogs about him.  While much of this increase is attributed to Nadal’s victory at Wimbledon, Federer’s blog activity saw only a mild increase following the match.

Alexa rankings showed a similar increase in overall search activity, where Nadal’s homepage saw a considerable increase in traffic over the past month.  Federer’s homepage also saw increased traffic  following Wimbledon, however the percentage of daily reach had Nadal close within .002% (up from .004%).

Despite the decreased search traffic, Federer still remains the more visible figure on the Web.  He has over two million more web results than Nadal, and on Spock has 30% more fan related tags.   In looking at Google Adwords, Roger Federer associated words generated on average over $0.45 more per ad than those associated with Nadal.  Google also estimates a higher click through rate for Federer ads. However, Federer’s advantage in this category is likely to slip as Nadal should take on better sponsorship deals and become closer to Federer in terms of being a household name (assuming he stays number one or is in close contention).  Nadal may not necessarily be a new comer in the sport of tennis, but his victory at Wimbledon destroyed the notion that he could only win on clay courts and essentially elevated him to a more elite level.

For Federer, his future still remains very bright.  Baring any unforeseen accident, Federer won’t remain the second ranked player for very long, and at only 27 years of age, remains very much at the top of his game.  With major sponsorship deals from Rolex, Gillete, and Nike, he’ll remain a household name for years.  However, you can’t discount the fact that Nadal has gained some considerable momentum as a popular player.  As a younger and and more emotional player, it will be interesting to see how long Nadal can hang on to the number one ranking and if their rivalry will continue.

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