The BTB Awards are our look back at the best — and worst — of the tennis season. Today we highlight some offbeat moments and other random developments. Click here for our complete archive of year-end awards.
• Most Awkward On-Court Gift Presentation Involving Cattle: The Gstaad Open presented Roger Federer with a cow named Desiree.
• Most Embarrassing Moment, WTA Edition: Tennis Canada flew in ATP players (and paid them $20,000) to play an exhibition match during the Rogers Cup women’s tournament in Toronto in order to bolster the event’s marketability and help ticket sales.
• Most Embarrassing Moment, ATP Edition: The ATP board said “no thanks” to a substantial prize money hike at the BNP Paribas Open for fear that the increase would put undue pressure on other tournaments to follow suit. Heaven forbid your players, who have been clamoring for more prize money, should get it. The tour finally relented and approved the bigger purse.
• Best Maria Sharapova Misstep: Floating the idea before the U.S. Open that she might change her last name to Sugarpova. The move was thoroughly mocked but, hey, who wasn’t talking about Sugarpova that week?
• Worst Maria Sharapova Misstep: Jimmy Connors? Really? Sharapova fired Connors as her coach after only one match, a loss to Sloane Stephens at the Western & Southern Open. That turned out to be the last 2013 appearance for Sharapova, who shut down her season with a shoulder injury.
• Best Cryptic Tweet About Being Fired From Your High-Profile Coaching Appointment: Jimmy Connors.
Back home in SB– family,pups, and home cooking. Oh– I forgot, and a vodka on the rocks.—
Jimmy Connors (@JimmyConnors) August 15, 2013
• Ugliest Example Of The Overbearing Tennis Parent, ATP Edition: John Tomic head-butted son Bernard’s hitting partner in front of a Madrid hotel, leading to an assault conviction and a one-year ban from the ATP Tour.
• Ugliest Example Of The Overbearing Tennis Parent, WTA Edition: Piotr Wozniacki yelled at a chair umpire from the stands over what he believed was a bad call against daughter Caroline at the Qatar Open. It was an embarrassing moment for everyone:
• Worst Case Of Mistaken Identity: After Victoria Azarenka won the Australian Open for the second year in a row, the trophy engraver appeared to confuse Belarus for Belgium.
• Best Friday: #SerenaFriday.
• Best Sense Of Humor In The Face Of Yet Another Soul-Crushing Injury: Andrea Petkovic.
Eating cake and watching Interpol concert on TV. Hospital isn't too bad after all. And lips and botox face turned out fine btw.—
Andrea Petkovic (@andreapetkovic) January 04, 2013
• Worst Wild-Card Snub: The Dubai Championships denied two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova a main-draw wild card, forcing her to play qualies. (She made it through qualifying before losing to No. 17 Roberta Vinci in the first round.) One of the three wild cards went to 18-year-old Yulia Putintseva, who was ranked No. 101.
• Worst Wild-Card Grant: The Generali Ladies Linz gave Angelique Kerber a wild card after the draw had been made by asking a low-ranked Austrian player to withdraw, leading to a complete reshuffle of the draw.
• Best Post-Match Snacker: Benoit Paire.
• Most Unfortunate Controversy Surrounding A Nude Photo Shoot: A Catholic youth group dropped Agnieszka Radwanskaas an ambassador over her “immoral behavior” in posing for a naked but not explicit picture for ESPN The Magazine‘s Body Issue.
• Most Exuberant Andy Murray Celebration: Murray erupted in glee after nailing Ivan Lendl with a forehand during an exhibition at Queen’s Club. This is notable considering the guy WON WIMBLEDON.
• Worst Case Of Contrarian Behavior: The Aegon Championships allowed John Tomic to enter the grounds as a paying customer despite his ban from receiving credentials for ATP Tour tournaments.
• Worst Choke: Sam Stosur vs. Zheng Jie at the Australian Open. Yes, Stosur has a horrible record on home soil, but even she admitted she choked in this second-round match. She was up a double break, at 5-2, in the third set but was broken twice when serving for the match, and she double-faulted on match point to lose 6-4, 1-6, 7-5.
• Worst Use Of A Changeover: Anabel Medina Garrigues intentionally fluffed up the tennis balls to slow down conditions against Serena Williams at the Madrid Open.
• Most Underrated On-Court Entertainer: Juan Martin del Potro. He’s just as big of a ham as Djokovic, but in a “sleeping giant” kind of way.
• Best Shoe Decision: Nike’s outfitting Federer in controversial orange-soled kicks at Wimbledon. Take that, All England Club.
• Worst Shoe Decision: Redfoo decided to play his first U.S. Open sectional qualifying match in basketball sneakers. He slipped and fell so much that a fan offered to lend him his tennis shoes. “Thinking back, if I could turn the hands of time, I would have went up there much earlier,” Redfoo said of the shoe exchange. “I thought [the type of shoes] didn’t matter. Now I’m playing with tennis shoes and I’m screeching. I didn’t have the screech before.”
• Best Unintentional Foreshadowing By A Tweet Involving Shoes: Nike labeled Federer’s orange-soled sneakers a “one-match wonder” after the All England Club asked him to switch following a first-round victory; the seven-time champion lost his next match.
• Worst “publicist”: Michael Russell’s. The U.S. veteran blamed a flack for a Facebook rant against Lleyton Hewitt published under Russell’s name.
• Most inspiring over-40 player who also happens to endorse non-alcoholic beer: Kimiko Date Krumm, who made the third round of the Australian Open for the first time since 1995 and the third round of Wimbledon for the first time since reaching the semifinals in 1996.
• Best Half-Squat In Heels: Marion Bartoli.
• Best Walk Down Memory Lane: Before Richard Gasquet faced Rafael Nadal in the U.S. Open semifinals, video resurfaced of the two competing as 13-year-olds:
• Worst Ticket In Tennis: U.S. Open night session for Arthur Ashe Stadium. The Ashe night sessions produced 11 bagel sets (there were only four last year), 10 6-1 sets and 15 straight-set victories in 20 matches.
• Best Seeding Controversy: French Open. Rafael Nadal, who entered with a 52-1 record and seven titles at Roland Garros, was seeded fourth after the French tennis federation decided to follow the rankings. As a result, Nadal faced the top-ranked Djokovic in the semifinals in the de facto final, which made the actual final (Nadal’s straight-set victory against David Ferrer) a complete afterthought.
• Worst Seeding Controversy: Wimbledon. There was much hand-wringing over Nadal’s No. 5 seed … until he lost to Steve Darcis in straight sets in the first round. From there, the seeds fell like London rain.
• Best Social Media Reality Check: Canada’s Rebecca Marino revealed her struggles with depression and discussed the abuse athletes regularly receive on the Internet.
• Most Classless Move: Connors strongly hinted in his memoir that Chris Evert had an abortion shortly before the two were to wed in 1974. (He never actually used the word.)
• Worst Way Of Quieting The “He’s Getting Old!” Retirement Talk: Federer wore a sweater vest at the German Tennis Championships.
• Best “I Never Thought I’d See That” Moment: The U.S. Open crowd cheered for a Frenchman against the No. 1 American during a night-session match at Louis Armstrong Stadium.
• Worst Security Breach: How exactly does a flare-wielding spectator get within 15 feet of Nadal during the French Open final?
• Best “Oh, Snap!” Moment: Alize Lim stood up for her boyfriend, Jeremy Chardy.
• Best Video Of Andy Roddick Dancing In Preparation For An Interview With Justin Timberlake: Tough field, but I’ll have to go with this one: