Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us for the sixth annual Popcorn Tennis Awards, the awards that recognise the feats and incidents that the players would rather forget.
The Marat Safin Racquet Origami Award – Serena Williams
A bit of old school racquet smashing here. No bouncing, throwing or twirling, just a good old fashioned slam it into the ground a couple of times then fling it for good measure. Marat would be proud.
The John McEnroe Best Dummy Spit Award – Jerzy Janowicz
This meltdown had everything. There was yelling, a code violation and a new catch phrase – “How many times?” You can bet Jerzy’s going to be hearing that in the locker room for a long time yet. What’s more, the video of his antics has been viewed on YouTube more than 1.1 million times. But how do you know when you’ve really made it? When there’s a remix. Take a bow, Jerzy.
The Richie Benaud Classic Catch Award – Shane Warne
Shane Warne just can’t seem to stay out of the limelight. Even when the cricket star is out trying to enjoy a nice quiet night at the tennis with his ex-footballer mate – yes Aaron Hamill, we saw you going for the catch as well – he still manages to get his mug on TV. In saying that, it wasn’t a bad catch. Nice one, Warnie.
The Henry Higgins Award for Pronunciation – Jim Courier
Poor Jim, it’s hard enough being a former tennis great, what with the travel and the talking about the tennis and so forth. Then you have to pronounce some tricky player names. Thankfully world No.1 Novak Djo-ko-vic was on hand to run Jim through how to pronounce his name. Now Jim, one more time, it’s DJO-KO-VIC!
The Shocking Shanks Award – Sam Stosur, Li Na and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
It just didn’t happen for Sammy Stosur this year. The Aussie favourite had a summer to forget, and this serve epitomises her January. At least for Li, she made it to the final where she fell in a tight affair with Victoria Azarenka. Likewise, Tsonga made it to the quarterfinals. What’s great about these cracking misses is that it reminds us that even the pros make mistakes too.
The Ebenezer Scrooge Award for being Tight – Maria Sharapova
She may have been handing out her own brand of candy left right and centre – no, I won’t name it as this isn’t a paid spot – but on court Maria wasn’t giving away a thing. The second seed spared just nine games en route to the semifinals, where she lost in straight sets to Li Na.
The Patience of a Saint Award – Sloane Stephens
Saintly Sloane spent a lot of time on the sidelines – not due to any injury she sustained but those of her opponents. Four of her six opponents called injury time-outs, so maybe Sloane should pack a magazine or good book next time she plays.
The Rally Heard Around the World Award – Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils
More resembling the kind of rally you might see at mid-week ladies, this 71-shot snoozer just kept on going …
The Not Winning, Choking Award – Sam Stosur, Nicolas Almagro, Victoria Azarenka and Gael Monfils
Rod Laver Arena almost resembled an emergency ward with the amount of players choking on Melbourne Park’s biggest stage. Stosur’s second-round loss to Jie Zheng after serving for the match twice was excruciating to watch, as was Almagro, who attempted to serve for his match against countryman David Ferrer three times. Monfils squandered four match points with four double faults, which has to be some kind of record. And then there was Vika’s semifinal choke as she blew five match points in one game but recovered to claim the match.
The Golden Microphone Award – Li Na
A press room favourite, Li Na has a habit of livening up what can become a dry ritual when other players are concerned. Here are some of her better efforts this year:
Q: Did the falls affect you?
A: So when the physio come, she was like, Focus on my finger. I was start laughing. I was thinking, This is tennis court, not like hospital. She was like, Follow my finger, because I didn't follow. I just watch the eyes. She says, Follow. I say, Why? I'm okay.
Q: Why do you think you fell down?
A: Because I'm stupid (smiling).
Q: Does this loss hurt more than the 2011 final?
A: I mean – how do you say – same thing. I lost the match.