Most Absurd Moments of 2023 Tennis Season Ft. Novak Djokovic and Jessica Pegula

Published 12/20/2023, 7:24 AM EST

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Tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world. One can find a good chunk of tennis fans in many countries, and due to its popularity, the reach is wide as well. However, a sport being popular is not always a positive thing. Bizarre moments always accompany when something reaches the mainstream, and tennis is no exception to the rule. From the stabbing of Monica Seles to less threatening interruptions, tennis has seen it all. 

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This year was no different. We saw many bizarre events, and they have become just as memorable as the matches we saw. Some of the events were hilarious, while some only served to annoy tennis fans.

Cotton Eye Joe plays in Iga Swiatek vs Jessica Pegula


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This year, we saw three matches being between Iga Swiatek and Jessica Pegula. The second match took place in the Canadian Open, which was won by the American player. However, one moment threatened to take her victory away. During the second set, both players were in the midst of a tie-break, and the score read 4-3 in Pegula’s favor. 

Pegula hit a lob to Swiatek, who was near the net. As she backtracked and returned the shot, the point was immediately stopped because the song ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ by the Rednex had started playing on the court. Both players were incredulous at the moment, and the point was replayed. The moment almost cursed Pegula as she would go on to lose 12 points consecutively after the song was suddenly played.


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However, she managed to recover from the misstep and won the match, and further went on to win the tournament. The song was once again played when Pegula won the final.

‘Cotton Eye Joe’ Forces an Interruption Out of Nowhere as Bizarre Scene Unravels in American WTA Star Jessica Pegula’s Dominant Encounter Against Iga Swiatek

Novak Djokovic hindrance call

The Wimbledon will be memorable for Novak Djokovic for all the bad reasons. He lost the final and found himself facing two violations in the semifinal and the quarterfinal. In the quarterfinal bout, he faced Jannik Sinner, which proved to be an exciting bout, although Djokovic won in three sets. However, the game was interrupted by a hindrance call.

Djokovic served, and when Sinner returned the third rally, Djokovic stretched out to reach for a backhand, which he hit down the line. He grunted a little loudly, and as soon as the Italian player returned the shot, the chair umpire called hindrance at the Djoker. It meant his grunt impeded Sinner’s ability to play, and the point was given to the 22-year-old.

Djokovic argued with the umpire as he believed the call was out of place. However, it stuck, and the two moved on. He would win the match and go on to play in the final, but the moment ended up becoming highly controversial.

Panda interrupts the match

The ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament saw great action between some of the best players of the ATP. However, the qualifying rounds of the tournament saw a weird event taking place. The match between Gregoire Barrere and Quentin Halys was a qualifier, and the bizarre moment took place in the second set as Halys led the match with one set to himself.

Barrere served for the sixth game, and when it was tied, a person donning a Panda costume entered the court from the side of the stands. The Panda ran to the side of the court and slipped. Then changed direction and ran from the service box where Halys was standing. Then the Panda turned around and ran back.

While the person in the Panda costume kept running around, no one, including security, interrupted them. Some remembered it as a funny event, but some saw it as a potential risk to security as people could easily arrive on the court and leave.

Impromptu battle of the sexes


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Mirra Andreeva is one player who saw a sparkling increase in popularity this year. She jumped up the ranks quite well and even went home with some great victories. She entered the year ranked 293 and will end the year ranked 57. Andreeva played in the Negometal Open de Bourg-de-Peage exhibition event in France. One of the matches of the event ended up becoming a battle of the sexes. 

She first beat Varvara Gracheva and set up a final bout with Marta Kostyuk, who was roped in after Donna Vekic withdrew. However, since Andreeva is Russian, Kostyuk, who is Ukrainian, did not want to play against her and also withdrew. To replace her, men’s tennis player Yanis Ghazouani Durand was brought in. The two players fought hard and well, but Durand emerged victorious over Andreeva 7-5, 6-2. 


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We saw many bizarre events unfold this year on the court but could only include a handful in this list. What are the moments that made you scratch your head? Tell us in the comments!

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Written by:

Ripunjay Gaba


One take at a time

The Swiss Maestro Roger Federer?s influence on tennis is undeniable, and I certainly have the 20-time Grand Slam champion to thank for my foray into the wonderful racket sport. Unsurprisingly, throughout my time at ES, I have specialized in providing in-depth coverage of everything related to the 'Swiss Maestro' and have authored more than 1000 articles to date. Now, I specifically focus on creating profiles for all the top stars, along with stables that focus on both their professional and personal exploits.
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