Roddick contrite after boorish rant fails to pay off

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Andy Roddick said his petulant rant over a foot fault in his second round loss to Serb Janko Tipsarevic at the U.S. Open on Wednesday was a desperate stab at gamesmanship that failed to pay off.

Roddick kicked up a fuss when foot-faulted at 5-2 down in the third set, and berated the lineswoman for telling him his right foot was at fault, when it was his left that had touched the line.

“Not once in my entire career has my right foot gone ahead of my left foot,” the 28-year-old American shouted at her.

“Why don’t you get some umpires that know what they’re doing?” he directed at the chair.

“What is this, call 1-800-RENT-A-REF?”

Roddick continued to ridicule the official even as he walked off at the end of the set to change his tennis shorts.

The 2003 U.S. Open champion later said that he was just trying to shift the tide.

“I was down 5-2 in the third (set) already,” Roddick told reporters after his 3-6 7-5 6-3 7-6 defeat. “If anything, it kind of shifted the energy a little bit.”

Roddick saved three set points from 0-40, but the effect was short-lived. Tipsarevic closed out the set in his next service game then completed victory by winning a fourth-set tiebreaker 7-4.

“At that point any change in energy was a good change in energy for me,” said Roddick. “He was in a groove. He was seeing the ball big and he was taking risky cuts at the ball. They seemed to be dropping, the majority of them.

“In hindsight, did I let it go too far? Yeah, probably,” he said, adding that he felt it had ‘zero impact’ on the match.

Tipsarevic said he did not blame Roddick for being upset.

“He was pissed off. I would be if a referee told me I made a foot-fault with my right leg. I mean, he never moves his right leg, so it was just a stupid call,” the Serb said.

“But I feel he was trying to do something to change the match, to get the crowd involved or whatever.”

If that was Roddick’s motivation, it also backfired, the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd boo-ing their native son.

Roddick was more gracious when the players met at the net to shake hands at the end, Tipsarevic said, and the American had urged him to go deep in the tournament.

“He said, ‘well done, man, you played great’ ... He said, ‘if you lose early, I’m going to freakin’ kill you.’”

Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Ian Ransom