Birds, Iguanas & Love Lead Best Quirks Of 2017
Continuing our Season in Review series, ATPWorldTour.com reviews some of the year's odd moments on the ATP World Tour.
There are plenty of things that happen during a tennis match. From winners and errors to overheads and tweeners, ATP World Tour players always entertain the crowd.
But there were also some quirky moments on the court in 2017.
At the Miami Open presented by Itau, Tommy Haas and Jiri Vesely got a special visitor after their second set.
An iguana was spotted on one of the court’s scoreboards, delaying play. Vesely had no interest in continuing play with the animal even near the court, while Haas walked right up to it for a selfie.
“Maybe the iguana got the note that this is most likely the last time playing here, and he wanted to say, 'Hi', and take a peek or something. I don't know, but it was pretty cool. Of that size, I don't think I've ever experienced that,” Haas said. “At one point the people were just trying to see if we can just get him off the scoreboard, but then he made an appearance and ran up and down the court as well back to the other scoreboard. So it was fun… It's nice for him to stop by. Good-looking iguana.”
The iguana was not the only animal to interrupt play on the ATP World Tour this season. Just a couple of weeks later, a bird caused a stoppage in Monte Carlo. In the second round of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, eventual champion Rafael Nadal was serving to move within one game of victory in the third set against Kyle Edmund when a small bird landed on the net.
While a ballperson attempted to usher it away, the bird flew onto the court’s surface instead, much to the crowd’s enjoyment.
Eventually, thanks to coaxing from the ballperson and Nadal, the bird flew to the front row behind the Spaniard and watched as he won the final two games of the match to advance to the third round.
It was not only creatures that caused quirky moments this year, though.
Usually, the only danger in stepping on the tennis court is not performing well. But Marcelo Melo learned otherwise at the Internazionali BNL D’Italia.
When the Brazilian stepped to the net while partner Lukasz Kubot served early in the second set against Henri Kontinen and John Peers, he certainly did not expect to accidentally get drilled in the head.
Kontinen and Peers would eventually win the quarter-final, 6-4, 7-6(6). And while it was a double-whammy for Melo — losing and getting knocked in the head by his teammate — Kubot/Melo would finish the year at No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings.
But perhaps the most bizarre moment of the season came on the ATP Challenger Tour in April at the Elizabeth Moore Sarasota Open.
It is not often that a player will crack into laughter after falling behind 0/15 in a game, but that is exactly what happened to Frances Tiafoe at 6-3, 3-2 in the second set of his first-round match against Mitchell Krueger. The cause was noise coming from an amorous couple in a nearby building, which broke Tiafoe's concentration and interrupted play. Krueger grabbed a spare tennis ball and smacked it toward the building, drawing laughs from the crowd.
A couple of points later, the noise was still audible. "It can't be that good," Tiafoe shouted in the building's direction. He went on to win the match 6-3, 6-2.