Ljubicic refuses to apologise to Roddick
Ivan Ljubicic backtracked but refused to back down on Saturday evening, offering no apology for comments he made about the antics of Andy Roddick during their second-round match.Updated: Aug 31, 2003 10:46 IST
Ivan Ljubicic backtracked but refused to back down on Saturday evening, offering no apology for comments he made about the antics of Andy Roddick during their emotionally-charged second-round match at the US Open.
"Why should I apologise?", Ljubicic asked reporters at a news conference called in an effort to diffuse the controversy. "I am not going to apologise to anyone."
Stinging from his 6-3 6-7 6-3 7-6 defeat in the early hours of Saturday morning, Ljubicic had few kind words for the American on his 21st birthday.
The Croatian bitterly complained that Roddick's demonstrative behaviour on court influenced the decisions of the linesmen, including an important call in the fourth-set tiebreak.
Ljubicic, known as "The Beast", had said after the match, "nobody in the locker room likes his (Roddick's) acting on court," and that "every single player" wished him good luck and to "kick his ass".
He conceded that not "every" player hated Roddick but said there were many who felt the same way he did about the American.
"I'm not excluding that maybe I said things (during the match) without really thinking," said Ljubicic. "But I repeat, I don't really think that I said something really bad about Andy.
"I'm telling you I don't really like his attitude on the court and I talked with some people about that.
"For sure, there are some people who don't like it and some people like it. I'm sure some players came to him and said, "kick his (Ljubicic's) butt".
Roddick dismissed Ljubicic's after-match comments as "sour grapes" but said there was a "possibility" he might discuss the situation with the Croat.
An unimpressed Roddick wasted no time contacting Ljubicic, ringing him at his hotel at 0130 in the morning to wake him up and seek an explanation.
"He wanted to hear from me what it was all about," said Ljubicic. "He thought that I had some problems with him personally, so he asked me in the future to tell him first instead of going to the press.
"I responded that I had nothing against him personally. I really feel that I didn't say anything bad about him as a person.
"So he didn't ask for an apology and I didn't feel like doing it.
"We cleared things, we talked last night and I told him this morning...I asked 'is everything OK?' and he said 'it's fine'."
Roddick refused to answer questions about the incident when he returned for a training session at Flushing Meadows on Saturday afternoon but later issued a statement indicating the pair had cleared the air.
"I had a good conversation with Ivan, both last night and again today," said Roddick. "I think we both had the chance to clear the air and I know that last night's incident is behind us.
"I look forward to continuing in this tournament and hopefully playing Ivan for many years to come."
First Published: Aug 31, 2003 10:46 IST