Oh dear, what can the matter be, tennis opponent lost in the lavatory. He was there from Monday to Saturday. Nobody knew he was there.
Greg Rusedski's lament yesterday did not exaggerate the situation quite as much as that, but Slava Dosedel's trip to the loo left the British No 2 fuming after the Czech Davis Cup player defeated him, 6-4, 6-7, 6-1, in the first round of the Monte Carlo Open yesterday.
Rusedski, who has been been known to take a bathroom break between the finish of a warm-up and the start of play, accused Dosedel of gamesmanship. "My opponent took a 10-minute toilet break when I had him down and out and tired [at the end of the second set]," Rusedski said. "It worked. I went off the boil, I lost my rhythm, and he really took advantage."
Dosedel said he was surprised by Rusedski's tirade - "He said something like it is a bad kind of sportsmanship, but I couldn't hear it well because of the crowd, of course" - and explained that a bodyguard took him to the clubhouse instead of letting him use a toilet at the back of Court No 2, where the match was taking place.
"It took me 20 seconds in the bathroom," he said. "It was a mistake by the bodyguard. I told him, 'Let's go downstairs for the toilet', and he said, 'No, no, it is too small, too crowded, too bad'. So he took me to the clubhouse, and probably all the way there and back seems like a long time."
It did, but not as long as the 10 minutes Rusedski suggested. After waiting five minutes, Rusedski also took a bathroom break. "I needed to take a pee," he said. "I wanted to see in the back. I wanted to see how far away the toilet was."
Rusedski and Dosedel were fortunate to play. Rain washed out much of the programme, but Court No 2, covered by a laminated retractable roof, was a refuge. Rusedski, frustrated by bad bounces as well as his opponent's clay-court skill, hit the roof in more ways than one and was warned for an audible obscenity.
He did well to recover after losing his serve for 4-5 in the second set, breaking back immediately and then winning the tie-break, 7-3.
Rusedski was unable to build on the momentum, losing his serve after saving five break points in the second game of the final set, and losing his patience thereafter.
He acknowledged that he was at fault in allowing Dosedel's bathroom break to disturb his concentration. "I should have been more professional and managed to deal with the situation, raised my game, and played better in the third set because of it," he said. But I wasn't happy about it, and I told [Dosedel] at the end of the match I wasn't happy about it."
Tim Henman, the British No 1, is due to play Marc Rosset in his opening match. Although the towering Swiss would seem to have the advantage on the slow clay courts here, he has struggled with a back injury and has not won a match since defeating Russia's Yevgeny Kafelnikov to take the AXA Cup at the London Arena in February.
Rusedski was not alone in suffering on Court No 2 yesterday. Australia's Mark Philippoussis, who had his biggest triumph in the Davis Cup final against France along the coast at Nice in December, was defeated by Wayne Ferriera, of South Africa, 6-4, 7-5.
Philippoussis has only been practising for a week after recovering from a torn calf muscle. "I'm not going to win any tournaments or do well when I play the way I did today," he said. "I have two weeks off. I'm going to train very hard and make sure I go into the Italian Open with a positive attitude."
Results from the $2.95 million Monte Carlo Open (seedings in parentheses):
Christian Ruud (Nor) def. Andreas Vinciguerra (Swe) 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. (14) Wayne Ferreira (SA) def. Mark Philippoussis (Aus) 6-4, 7-5. Fabrice Santoro (Fr) def. Orlin Stanoytchev (Bul) 6-4, 6-2. Slava Dosedel (Cz Rep) def. (10) Greg Rusedski (GB) 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-1. Nicolas Escude (Fr) def. Stephane Huet (Fr) 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. (8) Cedric Pioline (Fr) def. Magnus Larsson (Swe) 6-2, 6-2. Jiri Novak (Cz Rep) def. Roger Federer (Swit) 6-1, 2-6, 7-5. Sargis Sargsian (Arm) def. (11) Younes El Aynaoui (Mor) 7-6 (7-1), 4-2 (retired injured).Reuse content