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Fab Fognini king of the 2014 tennis tirades

12/15/2014

Editor's note: For two weeks, starting Dec. 8, ESPN.com is unveiling its 2014 tennis awards once per day.

Dec. 8: Men's player of year | Dec. 9: Women's player of year | Dec. 10: Top men's matches | Dec. 11: Top women's matches | Dec. 12: Top shot-makers | Dec. 15: Top shots | Dec. 16: Top tirades

The tension of a match can lead to tempers and rackets flying, and this season was no exception. There were heated discussions and shows of anger as players argued -- often correctly -- with umpires, each other and whoever else happened to be around. Here are some of the more notable tirades from this season.

1. Fabio Fognini: Hamburg Open

Fognini could fill up all the spots by himself, erupting at almost every tournament he played this season. From a racial remark in a match at Hamburg to giving the crowd the finger in Shanghai, there was no shortage of distasteful behavior by the Italian. He was fined $27,500 at Wimbledon for breaking rackets and other violations, as even his frequently entertaining theatrics became wearisome. Then there was the display in Madrid, where Fognini suggests retribution for the umpire following a disagreement about a ball mark, another troubling example.

2. Stan Wawrinka and Mirka Federer: Tour Finals, London

This would have been a regular run-of-the-mill complaint about the crowd -- especially coming from a regular like Wawrinka, except that it happened to be about Federer's wife. Wawrinka objected to the timing of Mirka's cheering, telling the umpire "she also did it at Wimbledon" when the two players played in the quarterfinals. On TV replays, a female voice was subsequently heard yelling "crybaby," to which Wawrinka appeared to react toward Federer.

It became even bigger news when reports surfaced that Wawrinka and Federer then had a 10-minute discussion in the locker room about the argument, with the two scheduled to play together in the Davis Cup final the following week. But that's as far as it seemed to go between the two, who were perfectly friendly when they re-appeared as teammates just a day or two later.

3. Andy Murray: Sony Open

A player gets cut some slack when arguing correctly against an umpire's call, like Murray was in the Miami final against Novak Djokovic. He wasn't alone this season, as Denis Istomin (Indian Wells), Fognini (Indian Wells), Daniela Hantuchova (French Open), Rohan Bopanna (Wimbledon), Roberta Vinci (Stuttgart), and a few others described here all had reason to question obvious mistakes by officials.

In this case, Murray was objecting to Djokovic reaching across the net to put away a volley -- a no-no in tennis rules. But the umpire did not see Djokovic make contact with the ball on his opponent's side of the net, though replays clearly showed he had done so. The ensuing cross-talk between Murray and the umpire had the world No. 6 laughing at the absurdity of it all. Djokovic, who is known for giving points to opponents when the occasion demands, said following the match that he had not known the rule.

4. Maria Sharapova: Western and Southern Open

No lengthy rant, this one, but it was as cutting as it was concise. As Sharapova double-faulted to drop her service game in the third set against Ana Ivanovic, she gestured angrily and told the umpire, "Check her blood pressure." The Russian was still fuming about Ivanovic calling a medical break during the third game of the set, when the Serb said she was nauseous and had her blood pressure checked by the doctor, though her play did not seem to be affected.

5. Serena Williams: WTA Finals, Singapore

Serena Williams didn't even need words; a well-performed destruction of her racket spoke eloquently as she went down in the first set to Caroline Wozniacki. Three mighty swings and it was crumpled. Even Serena called it "legendary." By consensus, this was the best racket smash of the season.

6. Donald Young: Tallahassee challenger

It's not often that a player will go to such lengths to argue that an opponent's ball was in, but that's what Young did during his match against Alex Kuznetsov at the Tallahassee challenger. With his opponent serving, Young successfully returned the ball, only for the umpire to say Kuznetsov's delivery had been long. The two players then exchanged words about the disruption in play, and the umpire agreed to Kuznetsov's request for a first service. That started Young off again, with demands to call the supervisor.

7. Tomas Berdych: US Open

Berdych protested furiously when he was called for a double bounce, asking the umpire if she had been "in the sun" for too long or "ever had a racket" in her hand. But when he saw replays following the match showing the ball had indeed bounced twice, Berdych tweeted an apology.

8. Sara Errani: Western and Southern Open

Errani had enough reason to rant when the umpire saw a ball well inside the service box as wide, but she became even more rattled when he ordered the point replayed. Convinced that her opponent, Yanina Wickmayer, had not made the return and the point should be hers, the Italian let the umpire have it.

9. Benoit Paire: Wimbledon

The Frenchman has to be credited for persistence, keeping his campaign against the All England Club going for a second straight year. Paire spoke at length about his dislike of Wimbledon following his defeat at the tournament, saying, "I'm glad to leave as soon as possible." A year before, he had smashed his rackets against a wall, complained about the courts, and said "all they like is giving fines."

10. Caroline Wozniacki: WTA Finals, Singapore

Wozniacki had used up all her challenges against Sharapova at the Tour Finals and then got a bad call, as Sharapova's ball was called in when replays showed it went wide. Wozniacki demonstrated the shot to the umpire, smacked her racket against the net and waved her hands, but to no avail, finding herself facing a set point in the second set.