NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wimbledon semi-finalist Jerzy Janowicz was showered with boos for serving underhand during his quick opening round exit from the U.S. Open on Tuesday.
Hampered by a back injury sustained in the gym on Saturday, the normally temperamental world number 14 from Poland hobbled through a 6-4 6-4 6-2 loss to world number 247 Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina.
Janowicz had 53 unforced errors, threw his water bottle on the court, argued with the umpire and earned the wrath of the crowd at Flushing Meadows when he resorted to serving underhand in the fifth game of the third set.
“On my push, I wouldn’t call it a serve, he hit two winners on my push, so I decided to try something else,” Janowicz said of the decision to serve underhand.
Janowicz’s normally powerful delivery was barely registering 100 miles per hour. He trudged around the court, making his feelings obvious, before he used the underhand delivery when the match was slipping away.
He said a request for pain killers in the third set was rejected since he had received a strong dose earlier on Tuesday.
“It was like being stabbed in the back by a knife,” the 22-year-old said of his injury. “I felt bad in my lower back. For three days I haven’t been able to practice, I could barely walk. I was in really good shape before this happened and that’s why I’m fricking disappointed.
“I was just working hard in the gymnasium when it happened. Today before the match I had injections, strong pain killers. But I couldn’t serve. I just couldn’t serve.”
Still, it was a more quiet departure from Janowicz than his stormy exit at the Australian Open in January.
Losing in the third round to India’s Somdev Devvarman at Melbourne Park, Janowicz spat at a ball mark and screamed at the umpire: “How many times? How many times?”
The YouTube clip from the incident at the Australian Open has attracted over 1 million views.
Janowicz said it was too early to tell if he would be available for next month’s Davis Cup tie against Australia.
During his charmed run at Wimbledon, Janowicz had been asked to describe the experience in one word. “Fun,” he said at the time.
Asked the same question about his U.S. Open appearance, he replied: “Disappointment.”
Editing by Frank Pingue