Roddick's antics irritate fellow players

Andy Roddick's antics to arouse the passions of US Open spectators have created the first major controversy of this year's final Grand Slam tennis tournament.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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New York:

Andy Roddick's antics to arouse the passions of US Open spectators became the center of the first major controversy at this year's final Grand Slam tennis tournament. The fourth-seeded American reversed his fortunes in a fourth-set tie-breaker early this morning during the first minutes of his 21st birthday to defeat 43rd-ranked Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 7-6. Roddick won eight of the last 11 points, including a controversial call on Ljubicic's third match point, to reach the third round, only to be blasted by his rival as an unsportsmanlike jerk that other ATP players despise. "I'm just telling you the feeling of the guys in the locker room," Ljubicic said. "I don't like him. Nobody in the locker room likes his acting on the court. He's a good player. He's going to win a lot of matches. But not because he's like that. It's just we don't like it. Because nobody acts that way. He's the only one." Ljubicic said Roddick lacks respect for fellow players and has been given a boost beyond his talents because he is able to intimidate linesmen and umpires in US venues, where he plays a large number of his ATP events. "He doesn't respect the others," Ljubicic said. "In your face or not in your face, doesn't matter. What he's doing is just pumping up the crowd. In the United States he can do it. Fortunately for him, there's like 70 per cent of the big tournaments played in the United States. He's number four in the world for that." Roddick unfazed Roddick's ranking and his lead in the ATP Champions Race comes from a 22-1 record on hardcourts since Wimbledon with titles at Indianapolis, Montreal and Cincinnati. With emotional gestures and encouragement, Roddick took full advantage of vocal home-nation support during the match and later shrugged off Ljubicic's rebuke, saying no rival has ever come to him with complaints about behaviour. "I don't really care," Roddick said. "I try to treat everybody with a lot of respect. I'm not mean to people. I'm very courteous to people. I'm not worried. I would be worried if I was doing things I thought were causing that." Ljubicic mentioned a thrown racket which did not bring a warning or penalty point against Roddick in the tie-break and complained over a line call that went Roddick's way to level the last tie-breaker at 7-7. Roddick had a quick response to claims that his screams of joy make linesmen and umpires too timid to go against him when a huge US crowd backs him. (PTI)