NEW YORK // Andy Roddick is all for raucous and rowdy tennis fans - just as long as they are quiet while a point is being played. The issue arose at Flushing Meadows - where, as it is, spectators traditionally are louder than at Wimbledon or the French Open - because the chair umpire warned a group of fans for being disruptive during James Blake's loss to Mardy Fish.
"It's sports. You're supposed to go after someone," he said. "There's supposed to be tense moments. You're supposed to yell. "All of a sudden, if there's a net and rackets involved, you can't do that?" Like other Americans at the American grand slam, Roddick generally receives strong support at Flushing Meadows, and he's been known to play to the crowds - even high-fiving a fan after a point. But he acknowledges there are limits.
"If someone tosses a ball up and you yell, then I think that's a direct distraction." he said. "If it's between points, yeah, they can do whatever they want. "I think as long as you're respectful of the rules of the game, have a ball. "Why is it important that there's silence during play? We use all of our senses. "We're trying to see a ball moving at 100-and-whatever miles an hour. "As long as it's in the framework of being respectful, then I'm all for it.
"You can do a handstand if you want." Roddick, of course, has been known to make a racket, too. And, often, break a racket - most recently during his second-round victory over Ernests Gulbis of Latvia on Friday. "If I complain about anybody carrying on during a match, I'd be bordering on hypocrisy," he said. And Roddick sees no reason for tennis to have a code of conduct saying players should be warned - and, eventually, penalised - for racket abuse.
"If a guy wants to break a bat in the dugout, he doesn't get warned. It's not hurting anyone," he said. "If it's affecting your opponent, then that's probably disrespectful, then keep it out of there. "But it's my racket, not anybody else's." * AP