An angry and frustrated Andy Roddick lost his cool as he crashed out of the Cincinnati Open in the first round on Monday, suffering a three-set loss to 47th-ranked German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Kohlschreiber advanced with a 6-7 7-5 6-1 victory but 15th ranked Roddick left the court complaining to the umpire after a bad-tempered display, where he petulantly smashed his racket and fired the ball into the crowd.
Roddick, who continues to be dogged by injury troubles, was given a warning after throwing down his racket at the loss of the second set and whacked the ball into the stands after double-faulting in the third set's second game.
The American was handed a penalty point for the incident, which gave the break to Kohlschreiber and Roddick, making frequent comments to the umpire, never regained his composure.
Rather than celebrate, Kohlschreiber departed the court shaking his head while Roddick was left with a disappointing defeat to contemplate ahead of the U.S. Open that starts in two weeks.
But the American, who having lost his spot among the world's elite is now likely to exit the top 20 in the next rankings, insisted the official had over-reacted to blast into the stands.
"Obviously it a split second thing. Soon as I did it I wanted it back. It was a judgment call for him. I am pretty sure I saw an eight year old girl catch it on the way down. He was telling my I hit it as hard as I could," said the American, who has been out with an abdominal muscle injury.
"It just sucks. I can't blame him, but I'm sitting here turning a six-week injury into a three-week injury, rehabbing eight hours a day, and a split second decision he interjects himself and it's done.
"It's so frustrating. I certainly accept what I did. I put him in a bad situation out there.
"But I do think it's stupid in tennis that I mean, in football if someone throws a helmet on the sideline, it's their helmet. We wonder where we lose our ratings battles to the WWE, Monday Night Raw," he said, referring to the popular U.S. wrestling show.
"John McEnroe, the guy is still getting endorsements because he was allowed to throw (expletive).
"I understand where (the umpire) is coming from but at a certain point, you know, you hit a tennis ball into a stadium, someone goes home with a souvenir, and it pretty much ruins the match from there. Seems counterproductive."
Roddick, who is attempting to get himself back in shape ahead of the U.S. Open at the end of the month, will play the ATP event in Winston-Salem next week but admitted he was still some way from full fitness.
"Tonight, I was feeling it. I don't know that I quite had my legs back yet. I think it would have taken a lot tonight.
"I was just disappointed. Equal parts mad and also disappointed in myself. You know, it's essentially a long uphill battle from there. So I was pretty mad at myself," he added.
"I just want to play good tennis. For two sets tonight I actually hit the ball well considering. I hit the ball a lot better than I thought I would, if I'm being totally candid," he said.