By Maud Watson
Andy Roddick didn’t just lose a tennis match when he fell to German Philipp Kohlschreiber in three sets Monday night. He also lost his dignity. After two tightly contested sets, the third was a washout, stemming from the volatile American’s inability to let go of the fact that he was assessed a point penalty that cost him a break and put him down 2-0 in the decider (and for anyone who missed it, check it out on YouTube and see for yourself where chair umpire Carlos Bernardes made the difficult but correct call). Even at the conclusion of the match, Roddick continued to argue with the umpire while Kohlschreiber walked off the court shaking his head. Frankly, it was embarrassing the way Roddick carried on during and after the match. He’s entitled to his opinion as to whether or not tennis is too strict, but he knew the rules when he struck that ball into the stands. Furthermore, one of the beautiful things about tennis is that it is supposed to be one of the more civilized sports. The behavior of guys like McEnroe, Nastase, Connors, etc. is something to be frowned upon, not encouraged. Roddick needs to learn that when things aren’t going his way, that’s not an excuse to take it out on someone else. He’s not the first player nearing the end of a career to struggle with his game or injuries, and he won’t be the last. His tantrums are becoming all too frequent, and if he can’t conduct himself with more class, then maybe he should take a hard look at hanging it up before he makes an even bigger fool of himself.
The fact that Serena Williams pulled out of Cincinnati was not entirely surprising. After her impressive win in Toronto, some probably half expected to hear of her withdrawal before Cincy got underway. After all, even when healthy, she rarely bothered to play a full schedule, so we could hardly expect her to do so after an 11-month injury layoff. But she surprisingly opted to play Cincy, only deciding to withdrawal ahead of her third-round match, citing a toe injury and a need to rest. Fans were none-too-thrilled to hear her re-match with Sam Stosur had been canceled and were only more annoyed when they learned the American spent the day having a fun time at Kings Island amusement park next door. A word to the wise to Serena. We know that hanging out an amusement park is not as taxing on the foot as playing a tennis match. But it’s still not a bright idea to go to an amusement park after you’ve just disappointed fans by citing the need to rest the foot and the body to be ready for the US Open. It kind of leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths.
Caroline Wozniacki’s woes continue, as the current No. 1 was bounced out of a Cincy in straight sets by American Christina McHale. This isn’t to take away from McHale, who has shown some serious promise over the past few months, but this was still an inexcusable loss for Wozniacki. Her confidence couldn’t be any more shaken than it is at the moment as she prepares to head into the US Open. She desperately needs to string together a win or two in New Haven next week or she may prove an easy upset in Flushing. The situation is even more dicey at the moment, given that it has been reported she and her father have ended their player-coach relationship, and she now has a new coach. It’s always tricky breaking in a new coach, but this hopefully will be a move that will pay off for the young Dane sooner rather than later.
Is She Done?
Fans of the elder of the two Williams Sisters might be asking themselves that very question. Venus pulled out of both Toronto and Cincinnati citing a mysterious viral illness. She had been offered a wildcard into the New Haven event next week, but has opted to turn it down, meaning she will go into the US Open cold. The American has played very little tennis this year due to injuries and illness, and with her latest decision to turn down the wildcard, one wonders how much drive she has left in the tank. She has many other irons in the fire, so perhaps it won’t be long before we wear that Venus officially calls it a career.
Plea to the Powers at Be
Earlier this week, I attended the top tier event in Cincinnati – a great event that comes with my highest recommendations, especially after the spectacular changes they’ve made to accommodate becoming a duel event for the first time in their 113 year history. But while there, I was reminded of one of my pet peeves while attending it and any other tennis event I’ve gone to. It is annoying when people get up and move over the course of play instead of waiting for a changeover. The ushers are better at enforcing this at the box level, which I understand. That is in the line of sight of the players. But for those fans seated in the upper levels, their vision of the match may be obscured by other fans seat hopping or making a move for the exit (something many seem to do as slow as possible). Maybe those fans seated in the upper levels didn’t pay as much as the box holders for their seats, but they still paid good money. There’s nothing more annoying than a fellow fan cutting across your line of vision during an enthralling or crucial point. So please, if there’s someone out there with the power to enforce the no movement until changeover rule at any tournament, please do so. I can’t be the only fan annoyed by this trend.