Andy Roddick Good Sportsmanship Costs Match

Andy Roddick would have won a tennis match yesterday had he let an umpire’s bad call stand. Instead, he told the truth and wound up losing.

For Roddick, a good deed is a net loss (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Just when Andy Roddick appeared to be on the way to the quarterfinals of the Rome Masters tennis tournament Thursday, the top-seeded player from Boca Raton pulled a stunner. He asked the chair umpire to reverse a line judge’s call that had given Roddick the victory. The good sportsmanship ended up costing Roddick the match.

Roddick was leading 5-3 in the second set and had triple match point when Fernando Verdasco appeared to hit a double fault. The line judge called the ball out, giving Roddick the victory. But Roddick, seeing the ball mark in the clay, said the shot was in. That gave Verdasco the point. Verdasco, given another chance, came back and won the set, then won the third set for a 6-7 (1), 7-6 (3), 6-4 victory. “I have to thank him. He is a great sportsman,” Verdasco said. ” … Maybe another player wouldn’t have done like Andy. The ball was good for sure.”

Said Roddick: “I didn’t think it was anything extraordinary. The umpire would have done the same thing if he came down and looked. I just saved him the trip. He’s working hard up there.” Roddick’s gesture cost him at least $27,400. Players ousted in the Round of 16 earn $29,600 compared to $57,000 for quarterfinalists. The champion receives $440,000.

They say “Nice guys finish last.” They weren’t kidding.

Still, a good story. In the long run, Roddick is likely to benefit from the publicity his act of integrity will generate. It’s perhaps a bit too much to hope that others will start following suit.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. wavemaker says:

    I would hardly say that Andy Roddick is finishing “last.” He is simply displaying the strength of character that is a significant element in his presence at the top of the profession.