2018 Tennis Meltdown Awards


Tennis can feel like a lonely, isolated sport sometimes. Instead of having a team around you, you’re on your own. There’s no one to turn to, and no one to help carry you if you’re in a form slump. And it can be a cold, dark feeling, knowing your fate rests on nothing but your own abilities and mental strength.

That’s probably why tennis players snap like old bread.

In 2018, we saw some spectacular meltdowns on court. So, to commemorate these precious moments, we’ve put together our awards for the greatest on-court tantrums of the year.

Bronze: Serena Williams (vs Naomi Osaka, US Open Final)

It was definitely a touchy subject. Was Serena treated unfairly by the umpires? Or did she just get a little wound up that she couldn’t overcome the up-and-coming Naomi Osaka?

Taking all that out of the equation – it was one grand meltdown. Serena was trailing the 20-year-old in the US Open Final, and was struggling to find the answers needed to overcome the Japanese champion.

In the second set alone, she was accused of being coached (something the coach even confessed to), smashed a racquet, and accused the umpire of being a ‘thief’. And in incredibly dramatic fashion, she went from a warning, to a point penalty, to a game penalty.

Apparently when the opposition and the umpire are scoring points against you, you react something like this:

Silver: Nick Kyrgios (vs Borna Ćorić, Cincinnati Open Round 2)

As much as we hate him, we kind of love him.

He’s arrogant, lazy, irrational, and performing well under his capabilities as an athlete. But if he’s playing, you’ll stop what you’re doing and watch.

Nothing displays Nick’s character better than his Round 2 clash in the Cincinnati Open this year. He was in control at the end of the first set, claiming the tiebreaker with a handy 7-1 score-line. And better yet, we’re being treated to stunners like this:

Let’s just run through what happens next:

  • Disagrees with a call when down 2-0
  • Smashes a ball into the crowd
  • Asks if anyone in the crowd would like a job umpiring
  • At 3-0 down, tells his team he’s going to tank his next 3 games
  • Admits to being “f***ing bored” while waiting for Ćorić to serve
  • Loses the second set 6-0
  • Comes back to win the third set (and the match) 7-6, 0-6, 6-3
  • Treats us to this juicy forehand in the third set:

It takes someone truly special to melt down like this, and still win the match. And that’s why Nick is our Silver Medallist.

Honourable Mentions:

Stefanos Tsitsipas (vs Daniil Medvedev, Miami Open Round 1)

Stefanos delivered an almighty spray at Daniil Medvedev after the match, most notably referring to the size of one of Medvedev’s body parts. You probably won’t need 2 tries guessing which part.

Thanasi Kokkinakis vs Fernando Verdasco (Miami Open Round 3)

What was it about Miami this year that brought out the tantrums? Kokkinakis first accused Verdasco of distracting him. Verdasco then replies by saying he was distracted himself. The person he then accused? Kokkinakis’ dad. Things got pretty heated at that point.

Gold: Benoît Paire (vs Marcos Baghdatis, Citi Open Round of 64)

Marcos has certainly been on-court when a tantrum has taken place, but for once, he wasn’t the one responsible. In fact, he even showed a little bit of sympathy for Frenchman Benoît Paire, who smashed through racquets like a pack of Tim Tams.

Missing a smash is always embarrassing. But missing a smash and falling onto your rear-end is just a sickening feeling.

So how must it feel to miss a smash, go down a double-break in the final set, and manage to land awkwardly on your backside in the process? Just ask any of Paire’s many, many racquets.

Congratulations sir, you’ve won the Gold Medal for Tennis Meltdowns in 2018.