ATHENS, Greece -- Andy Roddick hit one last errant shot into
the net and hung his head, his medal hopes over. A short while
later, Venus Williams was gone, too.
In back-to-back stunners at the Olympic tennis tournament,
Roddick was upset by No. 16 Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 6-4, 6-4,
and defending gold medalist Williams lost to Mary Pierce of France
6-4, 6-4. Both were third-round matches.
"I'm gutted right now. It's not every day we get to play
this," Roddick said. "You can't say, 'Next year.'"
Late in his match, some spectators began chanting, "Chile!
Chile!'' When a group of Roddick's fans responded with "U-S-A!
U-S-A!'', they drew boos and whistles.
For the first time since tennis returned to the Olympics as a
medal sport in 1988, no U.S. woman will win a singles medal. That's
because in addition to Williams' exit, No. 16 Chanda Rubin lost to
No. 2 Amelie Mauresmo of France 6-3, 6-1, and Lisa Raymond was
eliminated by Alicia Molik of Australia 6-4, 6-4.
"Just a pretty rough day for Americans," U.S. coach Zina
Some did stick around, though. Mardy Fish got past Max Mirnyi of
Belarus 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, and Taylor Dent beat Ivan Ljubicic of
Croatia 6-4, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals.
Martina Navratilova, in her first Olympics at age 47, and
Raymond advanced to the doubles quarterfinals when their opponents,
Mauresmo and Pierce, pulled out. Mauresmo developed a rash from a
skin allergy during her win over Rubin.
Williams was largely her own undoing, with 51 unforced errors
and five double-faults, including on match point. She said she
wasn't bothered by her sister Serena's last-minute withdrawal from
the Olympics with a knee injury.
"That was over a week ago, and in sports, that's ages ago,"
Williams, whose bid for a second straight doubles title ended in
the first round, was broken in the last game of each set against
Pierce, a two-time major champion who'll face No. 1 Justine
Other quarterfinals: Mauresmo vs. No. 5 Svetlana Kuznetsova of
Russia, Molik vs. No. 8 Ai Sugiyama of Japan, and No. 11 Francesca
Schiavone of Italy vs. No. 3 Anastasia Myskina of Russia.
The men's final eight: Gonzalez vs. No. 8 Sebastien Grosjean of
France, Dent vs. Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, Fish vs.
Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, and No. 3 Carlos Moya of Spain vs. No.
10 Nicolas Massu of Chile.
Berdych, just 18, continued his amazing run, beating No. 15
Tommy Robredo of Spain 7-6 (2), 4-6, 8-6 a day after shocking No. 1
So the men's tournament is without its two biggest stars. It was
a striking change of fortunes for players who met in the Wimbledon
final last month, when Federer beat Roddick for a second straight
"Men's tennis is really deep, and it's always been proven that
there's no easy rounds," Dent said.
Now Federer and Roddick need to regroup quickly before heading
to New York for the U.S. Open, which starts Aug. 30 and is played
on the same hard courts used for these Olympics. Roddick will be
defending his only Grand Slam title there.
"Right now, I'm looking forward," Roddick said. "I've got a
pretty big tournament coming up."
The hardest server in the world, he compiled 13 aces Wednesday
but was broken once in each set, including at love to fall behind
5-4 in the second. By then, though, he appeared distracted by an
extended argument with the chair umpire that began late in the
first set and dragged into the second.
He found himself in trouble right away, broken in the third
game. Roddick missed a forehand, then double-faulted twice, and
Gonzalez smacked a backhand down the line to go up 2-1. Gonzalez
raised a fist in Roddick's direction and yelled "Vamos!"
Still, Roddick had an opening when Gonzalez served for the first
Unable to do much against the Chilean's serve all match, Roddick
was at 15-30 when he got a good read on a second serve and smacked
a deep forehand return. It landed right at the baseline near
Looking at the ball, Gonzalez paused, and the line judge called
the shot out. Chair umpire Cedric Mourier of France quickly
overruled, saying the point should be replayed.
Gonzalez questioned the overrule, putting his palms up as if to
say, "Why did you do that?" Then Roddick chatted with the chair
They replayed the point, which Gonzalez won with a volley. On
the next point, Roddick dumped a forehand return into the net and
reared back to spike his racket on the court -- but held on to it,
as if he thought better. Roddick then dropped a forehand into the
net, ending the set.
At the changeover, Roddick resumed his conversation with
Mourier, making the case that Gonzalez's body language persuaded
the line judge to call Roddick's return out.
"I could see it, clear as day," Roddick said.
He kept talking while waiting at the baseline to start serving,
then picked up the argument again during the next changeover.