Since 2011 is coming to a close and the tennis season is done and dusted, let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we? First up – the top 11 most memorable match moments of 2011. So much happened this year in hundreds – thousands – of matches. I tried my best to capture the essence of all of the best moments but, if you remember something that should have made the list, by all means, let me know:
(Honorable Mention) Cramping His Style: Fabio Fognini was in a marathon match against Albert Montanes at the French Open when, in the fifth set, he started to hop around and grimace. The Tour has new rules against cramping so when the chair umpire got down to ask him if he had an injury, Fabio said he did and was thus allowed to take a medical timeout. The trainer did determine Fabio had an injury and was given a rubdown, but the truth remains to be seen if the Italian truly had an injury or was just using a little acting to take some momentum away from his opponent at a crucial part of the match. And guess what. Fabio ended up winning.
(Honorable Mention) Stand Still: It was Day 2 of the French Open and France’s Michael Llodra was clearly in a bad mood. He showed his temper and received a warning during the second set of his first-round loss (to Steve Darcis, who defeated Llodra 6-7, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3) when he threw a ball at a female security guard in the stands. He said the umpire should not have warned him for the incident and should have instead called the security staff or told the female guard to stop moving.
11. Rod-docked: Andy Roddick was in the third set against Philipp Kohlschreiber in Cincinnati when he was docked a point, giving Kohls a 2-0 lead. Andy had already been warned for slamming his racquet to the ground and was docked the point for hitting a ball into the stands. While Andy admitted he lost his cool, he still believed the umpire overreacted, saying: “I understand where the umpire is coming from but at a certain point, you know, you hit a tennis ball into a stadium, someone goes home with a souvenir, and it pretty much ruins the match from there. Seems counterproductive.”
10. Call Waiting: It was the first round match in Bastad with Caroline Wozniacki and Alize Cornet when, on Caroline’s match point, a cellphone began to ring. Caro was, within reason, annoyed at first…. until everyone realized the ringing was coming from Alize’s racquet bag. Watch:
9. Thank You For Not Vomiting: In her semifinal match in San Diego, Andrea Petkovic did us all a favor and darted off the court during the second set of her match against Agnieszka Radwanska to use the restroom because she didn’t want to be seen vomiting on court. “At the point where I ran out, I couldn’t hold it back anymore. I didn’t want to be on SportsCenter for the next 25 years,” Petkovic said.
8. Hot Dog Of The Year: Andy Murray’s Hot Dog Shot at the Queens Club tournament had people around the world (or at least in the UK) trying to recreate the spectacular shot. Even Andy tried to do it again at Wimbledon, but the magic wasn’t quite the same as it was in Queens.
7. Dead Spot: Maria Sharapova and Julia Goerges were getting ready to play at the Australian Open when a dead spot on Hisense Court was discovered. It was explained that “the significant rainfall of recent times, combined with today’s warmer weather, is believed to have caused moisture to rise from under the surface, which let to the resultant vapor.”
6. Lucky Court 13: There had been two days of rain and finally the sun was shining at the US Open. It was time for tennis. Except, Louis Armstrong Stadium thought otherwise. A fissure formed in the court behind the baseline and delayed the fourth-round match between Andy Roddick and David Ferrer. The two didn’t care where they played so where did they go? Court 13, which has a capacity of 584. Roddick hadn’t played a match at the US Open anywhere except Arthur Ashe Stadium in nine years. But on that day, Court 13 got lucky.
5. Racquet Beheading: Agnieszka Radwanska’s Day 2 Australian Open racquet break was quite possibly one of the most memorable breaks of all time. As Aggie was going to return a serve from Kimiko Date-Krumm, the head of her racquet went flying into the crowd, leaving an expression on her face that is unforgettable. Need a refresher?
4. Eva Asderaki: Serena Williams was facing Sam Stosur in the US Open final when she was penalized for celebrating before a point was concluded – a totally appropriate penalty to be given. Serena did not agree and began berating the chair umpire, the lovely Eva Asderaki. “If you ever see me walking down the hall, look the other way, because you’re out of control… You’re totally out of control.” Last I checked, Eva was totally in control and handled the situation beautifully.
3. Match Point Dive: It was a topsy-turvy final match at the Memphis tournament when, on match point, Andy Roddick hit what he described as “the best shot I’ve ever hit in my life.” He scrambled to reach a shot from Milos Raonic, fully extend himself and dove onto the court only to look up and watch the ball drop in (and Milos not return it). After hitting the shot, Roddick said “I didn’t really think much of it. Then I heard people cheering. I was like, ‘No, there’s no way that went in.’ I guess it did.” Relive the point here:
2. Rally For Comic Relief: It was hardly a “match” but the Rally for Relief at the Australian Open helped raise a lot of money (tickets alone raised over $300,000) for the Queensland flood disaster and gave us one of the best on-court moments of the year. Comic relief from the pros, cameos by a crying Cruz Hewitt (Lleyton’s son), and video clips to let us relive all the fun. Watch:
1. Longest Tiebreak: It was Day 7 of the US Open and there was a lot to be seen around the grounds at one time. Sam Stosur was facing Maria Kirilenko on the Grandstand court (the match was originally scheduled to be played on Arthur Ashe earlier) and the Aussie had taken the first set. The second set went to a tiebreak, and then went to 17-15 – what the WTA said is the longest tiebreaker between women at a Grand Slam tournament. Stosur ended up winning the match 6-3 in the third after 2 hours and 37 minutes in front of a jam-packed crowd.
(Photos: AP/Getty Images, Videos: Australian Open)