Wednesday December 3rd, 2014

From marquee matches to feisty feuds, to major meltdowns and the tennis Twitter, and all of fashion faux-pas and sexy, skillful shots in between, SI Tennis' Year-End Awards have the entire span of the 2014 tennis season covered. Check back throughout the month of December to see the best and worst of the season. 

Maria Sharapova: "Check her blood pressure!"

The meltdown that spawned one of the best shade-throwing phrases of the year. Sharapova was locked in a tough semifinal match against Ana Ivanovic at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio. The two split the first two sets and went to the third, but Ivanovic pulled up in the second game complaining of nausea. She called a mid-game medical timeout for treatment. Her blood pressure was taken and she was given some pills after complaining of an upset stomach. She proceeded to play as if she wasn't ill at all. Sharapova wasn't too pleased.

Serving to consolidate a break of serve at 4-3, Ivanovic played a great game to break back. Sharapova double-faulted on break point and immediately turned to the umpire and yelled "Check her blood pressure!" And with that, one of the greatest digs of the year was born.

 

Maria Sharapova after getting broken to 4-all in the third: "Check her blood pressure." #cincytennis

A video posted by SI Tennis (@si_tennis) on

Ivanovic went on to win the match 6-2, 5-7, 7-5. Read all about the dramatic match here


Serena Williams' bizarre Wimbledon retirement

Serena's up and down season hit a scary and worrisome low point at Wimbledon, where she was forced to retire from her doubles match with Venus after an uncoordinated and sluggish display. She couldn't catch a ball. She double-faulted four straight times. She was, in no uncertain terms, completely out of it. Watching from home, her good friend Andy Roddick was incredibly worried by what he saw. When asked about it weeks later, Venus said she wished she did more to step in and stop Serena from walking out on court. Serena maintains that she was diagnosed with a "viral illness" and that illness explained her bizarre behavior.

I have never seen anything like it on a tennis court and I hope not to see it ever again:

[tweet=https://twitter.com/Wimbledon/status/484000440066260993]


Mirka Federer calls Stan Wawrinka a "crybaby" at the ATP World Tour Finals

Who says the Swiss aren't primed for a conflict? During the all-Swiss semifinal between Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka in London, Wawrinka flipped out when Mirka apparently called him a crybaby during the match while sitting in Federer's support box. Wawrinka went on to lose the match despite having four match points and the the two men, who were set to compete in the Davis Cup final together a week later, had to talk it out and put the tension behind them. They did. Switzerland would win the Davis Cup and the whole weekend was a Roger-Stan love-in. 


La femme de Roger Federer a bien perturbé Wawrinka by beINSPORTS

Wawrinka clearly likes to work in silence. He had quite a few beefs with noise or cheers from the crowd all year: he told a drunk fan to "shut up" at the U.S. Open and tensions were high between him and Feliciano Lopez in their fourth round match at Wimbledon when Wawrinka appeared annoyed with noise coming from the crowd.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/w6UGHWJRelk]

After the match Wawrinka and Lopez tried to talk it out, with Lopez rightfully asking Wawrinka why he had directed his anger and annoyance at him during the match.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/_BqCe5s19Ng]


Andy Murray's has a "Who's on First" moment in Miami

This was just comical. In the midst of the first set in the quarterfinals against Novak Djokovic, Murray lost a point after Djokovic ran up to the net and appeared to reach across the plane of net to put the ball away for a winner, which is against the rules. Umpire Damian Steiner ruled Djokovic hit the ball after it had crossed the plane of the net and gave the point to Djokovic. 

Murray was incredulous at the changeover and with both men using the same "over the net" semantics to argue their differing cases. Steiner said the ball was "over the net" -- as in directly over the net and therefore legal -- while Murray was using "over the net" to mean Djokovic broke the plane of the net to hit the ball, which is illegal. All Murray could do was laugh. "What?!? You're having a laugh, man, you can see it on the replay!"

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-kwDTaSsqA]


Eugenie Bouchard: "I want to leave the court."

It was the quietest meltdown of the year. Bouchard returned home to Montreal to much well-deserved fanfare after making her first Slam final at Wimbledon. But at center court at the Rogers Cup, she was bageled by No. 113 Shelby Rogers. The crowd was dead silent. And when Bouchard's coach Nick Saviano came down at 5-0 in the first set, the first words out of Bouchard's mouth: "I want to leave the court." It was an incredibly honest and human moment.

The confession didn't help much though. Rogers went on to win 6-0, 2-6, 6-0.


Serena Williams' "legendary" racket smash in Singapore.

No one on the women's tour eviscerates a racket like Serena, but even she was impressed by her furious effort during the semifinals at the WTA Finals. She was getting blitzed in the first set by her good friend Caroline Wozniacki and she wasn't happy about it. After yet another error to fall behind 2-5, Serena finally had enough with that particular racket. 

[youtube=http://youtu.be/AVlocQNTrfM]

"I don’t know how many times I hit it but, boy, that racket will never do me wrong again I tell you," she said. "It was definitely legendary. I kind of lost my cool a little bit.” Just a bit!

But hey, it worked. She came back to win 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6) in one of the best matches of the year


Tomas Berdych insults an umpire and then apologizes at the U.S. Open. 

It's the go-to insult for any pro tennis player. When they feel they've been wronged they can't help but play the "You've never played this game before" card. Berdych did just that at the U.S. Open, when he felt umpire Louise Engzell made a mistake on a double-bounce call. "Have you ever had a racquet in your hand?'' Berdych asked her. He went on to belittle Engzell throughout his tirade and then lost the match to eventual U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDTh2X-PC2g]

As it happened, Berdych was wrong. The replays clearly showed the double-bounce, and after Berdych saw the replay following the match, he tweeted his apology. 

[tweet=https://twitter.com/tomasberdych/status/507888971356340224]


Donald Young to Alex Kuznetsov: "Shut up, man."

During an incredibly tight quarterfinal match at the Tallahassee Challenger, Young took issue with a line call. The chair umpire overruled to call a first serve out, but Young believed it was in and couldn't believe the call. He directed his arguments at the umpires. But Kuznetsov, who was serving, finally lost his patience and loudly asked the umpire, "How long does he get to argue before it's a first serve?" Young responded, "Shut up, man," to Kuznetsov, but the umpire eventually gives Kuznetsov a first serve due to Young's delay. 

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHvk01UMb-I]

Young went on to win the match 7-6(10), 4-6, 6-4.


Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic exchange words -- again.

These two just can't get enough of each other. Serena and Jankovic once again exchanged words, this time at the Dubai Championships, and once again it revolved around the amount of time each player was taking between points. Jankovic was annoyed with Serena holding up her serve and finally backed away from the service line. "You can take more time, it's yours," Jankovic said sarcastically. With the pair's long documented history of clashing over this precise issue, Serena fired back. "Do you want to do this again, Jelena?"

[youtube=http://youtu.be/rZCOCPbIPKc]


THE Alize Cornet Vine

Full disclosure: I actually do not know what Cornet was so mad about. But this vine -- huge credit to @roobynVC -- just captures everything that you need to know about the earnestly dramatic Frenchwoman.


 

Fabio Fognini's 2014 Meltdowns

Fognini breaks the court and insults everyone at Wimbledon

In a year that saw the Italian grab more headlines for his unprofessional and juvenile antics, we can argue which of his meltdowns was the worst -- don't worry, they all make this list -- but no prolonged tantrum this year was penalized as heavily as Fognini's at Wimbledon. En route to rallying from two-sets to love to beat Alex Kuznetsov 2-6, 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 9-7 in the first round, Fognini blew up repeatedly over line calls. He was fined $20,000 for damaging the grass court after a racket smash and $7,500 for abusing an official -- he insulted both the umpire and supervisor -- and for throwing an obscene gesture towards Kuznetsov. 

Fognini flips off the crowd after losing to a Chinese qualifier in Shanghai.

What did Fognini do after losing in the first round of the Shanghai Masters to No. 553 Wang Chuhan 7-6(5), 6-4? He bumped Wang during the post-match handshake with the umpire, threw bottles all over the court and then gave the partisan crowd the one-fingered salute as he walked off court. The ATP fined him $2,000 for "visible obscenity."

Fognini levies an ethnic slur at Filip Krajinovic.

There's just something about losing to qualifiers that gets under Fognini's skin. During his 6-4, 6-0 loss to No. 149 Filip Krajinovic in Hamburg, the cameras caught Fognini calling Krajinovic a "gypsy" in Italian. He subsequently apologized. 

[youtube=http://youtu.be/6bYrYBv59yo]

And just to punctuate his no good, very bad day in Hamburg, Fognini also took his anger out on his racket:

[tweet=https://twitter.com/TennisTV/status/489368049343275008]

Fognini threatens a chair umpire in Madrid.

The umpires bore the brunt of Fognini's tirades all year. By the end of the season one prominent umpire, Carlos Bernardes, refused to shake Fognini's hand in his final match of the season. The cursing and disrespect that he unleashed on umpire Mohammed El Jennati in Indian Wells is one thing -- read more about that incident here. But Fognini crossed the line in Madrid when he appeared to issue a threat when arguing a line call with umpire Mohammed Lahyani. "Believe me, if I lose this game? Big problem," Fognini said. 

He did indeed lose the match and afterwards he summoned Lahyani for a post-match chat. "Come now," Fognini said, pointing off the court. "I want to see you now. Come now and don't be scared."

Watch the exchanges below:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/7Ba0E0EOSPc]


Did we miss your favorite shot or point of the year? Post your favorites in the comments or tweet us @SI_Tennis for a chance to make our Best of Reader Submissions list. 

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.