Almost everybody in the world with an Internet connection ends up creating a Facebook account at some point. And it is not any different with professional table tennis players.
However, it usually happens that, the more popular a player is, the more he/she hides from everyone else. Instead they choose to have an official page, preventing fans the chance to contact him/her personally.
We can consider ourselves very lucky, though, being interested in table tennis, as most of the players still use their personal account. Therefore, it is not difficult to find these kind of pictures on Facebook:
In this article, we will provide a list with links to more than 150 Facebook profiles of top players in the table tennis scene along with an analysis of their connections considering several key factors.
Who are the players friends with? The following graph shows all the Facebook friendship connections between the players in the previously provided list:
Yes, we all agree that it is impossible to get any insight from this graph – too many connections. There is precisely 2451 connections between 164 players. These numbers result in a mean value of 30 friendship connections for each player.
Let’s synthesize all this information to get some eye-opening revelations.
The most social player
If we consider the friends that each player has whose name is present in the previous list, we can get an idea about their social skills. This is the top 3:
#1 Elizabeta Samara [ROU] (111 connections)
#2 Britt Eerland [NED] (105 connections)
#3 Maria Xiao [ESP] (100 connections)
The most international player
Counting the number of friends each player has with a different nationality, we have:
#1 Lily Zhang [USA] and Maria Xiao [ESP] (36 countries)
#2 Elizabeta Samara [ROU] (35 countries)
#3 Simon Gauzy [FRA] and Britt Eerland [NED] (34 countries)
Do men tend to connect more with women? What about women connecting with men? These are the players with the highest percentage of friends from the opposite gender:
#1 Tianyi Jiang [HKG] (72.7 %) and Adina Diaconu [ROU] (54 %)
#2 Cho Seungmin [KOR] (70 %) and Nina Mittelham [GER] (50 %)
#3 Jeong Youngsik [KOR] (69 %) and Britt Eerland [NED] (46.7 %)
Is it true that top players connect more with their peers? Are there VIP groups in the circuit? The average difference in World Ranking between each player and their friends is 37 positions. These are the players who have the lowest World Ranking position average in their friends list:
#1 Lee Eunhye [KOR] (24.4 WR friends average)
#2 Zhu Yuling [CHN] (36.5 WR friends average)
#3 Tianyi Jiang [HKG] (38 WR friends average)
National teams linkage
Which is the national team with the most connected group of players? Let’s see the most connected national teams with 5 players or more in the list:
#1 Romania (9 players, 100% of connection rate)
#2 Czech Republic (5 players, 90% connection rate)
#3 South Korea and Sweden (7 players, 85.7 % connection rate)
Social networks usually pose some privacy concerns for their users. It is not strange to see private pictures published publicly without the owners permission. But that’s not all.
In order to write this article, we we were able to collect information from more than 150 players, who had, in most of the cases, very relaxed privacy configurations. This allowed us, for example, to check their friends list. Even when they had it closed for non-friends, you could see their name in other people’s profile, which provided us with the information we wanted to obtain.
Let’s conclude this article with a gallery showing some examples of sensitive data gathered from the best players of the circuit: