Don't call me 'Mad Dog' barks beaten Matosevic

Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:02am EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The frustration of a first round loss in searing heat at his home Australian Open told on 54th-ranked Marinko Matosevic, who took exception to his coach's lack of support and fans calling him 'mad dog' during his marathon five-setter on Tuesday.

Bosnia-born Matosevic extended his winless streak at grand slams to 12 with a 6-3 5-7 6-2 4-6 6-2 loss to 16th-seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori after three tumultuous hours and 46 minutes on a raucous Show Court 2.

The 28-year-old battler has never won a title but retains a cult following Down Under for his full-blooded passion and histrionics on court.

With the temperature exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), Matosevic threw his heart and soul into his fifth Melbourne Park appearance, and was still fired up as he worked through an expletive-ridden post-match media conference.

Matosevic was called for time violations by the chair umpire, the first for an equipment failure when he had to change his hat and then docked a point for the second for taking a drink in the third set.

"When have you seen that?" Matosevic asked reporters incredulously of the second violation. "A guy's (Nishikori's) taking his bottle to the back of the court. He can do it. I'll take a drink.

"He went to get a drink, so I went to get a drink. She calls a point penalty. Nothing I can do."

Matosevic repeatedly waved his arms at spectators after points, urging them to show their support, but did not appreciate being encouraged by some fans who called him 'Mad Dog', a nickname he described as "stupid".   Continued...

Marinko Matosevic of Australia hits a return to Kei Nishikori of Japan during their men's singles at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 14, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Reed