Serena Williams isn't playing at the U.S. Open this year, but she may be here in spirit. Last night, Andy Roddick was in the throes of a heated match with Janko Tipsarevic when he was fouled for a foot fault. None too pleased, Roddick demanded to know which foot touched the line. The lineswoman claimed the back foot (something that's, all told, near impossible), and it sent Roddick into an ugly tirade. He was already being schooled by a surprisingly aggressive opponent, but the ordeal was the final nail in the coffin, irrevocably clouding his focus. Thus: Roddick lost in the U.S. Open's second round for the first time in his career, in a fashion that suggests his recent progressive leaps to become a better player are still hampered by an issue of mentality, and perhaps maturity.
Players are always irritated by foot faults because they're calls that can't be challenged; a tiff is not unusual. But Roddick continued to mutter dissent into the next game, at one point mocking the lineswoman and decrying her a "1-800-Rent-a-Ref." In his post-match press conference, he claimed that he was only upset by the fact that the she confused his feet and wouldn't admit her mistake, rather than the fact that a foot fault was called at all. (For what it's worth, Roddick did fault, but with his front foot.)