After getting past fellow American Michael Russell to kick off his U.S. Open on Wednesday night, Andy Roddick was in a mood. A chatty mood? A joking mood? A ribbing mood? All hard to say.
He gave a relatively lengthy press conference and the conversation veered toward a discussion of whether the Code of Conduct in tennis should be relaxed to allow the players to show more emotion on the court. Obviously, Roddick, a historically very reserved guy (sarcasm!), had some thoughts:
"It's the only thing I know where you can break your own stuff and get penalized for it, you know. If you take your shoe and throw it and break it, what happens to you? You're out of a shoe, but it doesn't really affect anyone else. If you're hurting someone, or someone is in harm's way, you know, I think if you took a poll of who would want to see someone go mental and hit something into the stands or something, I mean, people would probably vote for that. I said in Cincinnati, There's a reason that Monday Night Raw gets better ratings than we do.
Let's put it this way: [John] McEnroe is still getting endorsements and he's 87 years old, so ... I mean, what does that tell you? Love it or hate it, but watch it.
If you're disrespectful to your opponent, I think that's a different issue. If you're disrespectful directly to the umpire -- instead of saying to myself, You suck; I look at him and I say, You suck -- he or she is at liberty to do what they want."
Roddick was then asked about Mikhail Youzhny's famous head-bashing incident in Miami in 2008. Asked about what an umpire should do in a situation where a player's emotional outbursts cross the line, Roddick said:
"Warning for hitting yourself in the head. You just concussed yourself and you get a warning. Listen, I have no issue if the umpire wants to punch himself in the head. I might encourage it.
I mean, the guy hit himself in the head. What are you going to do? Give him a warning? It's not going to change anything. You're only doing damage to yourself. You get a warning on top of that? If anything, it's a disadvantage to your opponent if the umpire plays a part in you keeping composed. He should let you fall off the wagon.
If I see some guy going mental, the umpire is like, No, no, no, warning. I'm like, No, let him go. Let him fall all the way off."