WIMBLEDON, England – It's not often that a professional tennis player will admit he choked. Andy Roddick, though, pulled no punches after his early exit from Wimbledon.
"Any chance I got I pretty much choked it," the two-time finalist said after blowing all eight breakpoint chances in a 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (4) loss to Janko Tipsarevic in the second round. "That's tough to deal with. It's not an easy thing to say but it's pretty much what happened.
"I could sit here and try to dance around it all night, but it was what it was. It's like you want something so bad, you almost squeeze too tight."
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Roddick wasn't the only big name bounced from the tournament Thursday. Earlier in the day, 2004 champion Maria Sharapova was stunned 6-2, 6-4 by 154th-ranked Alla Kudryavtseva, her earliest loss in a Grand Slam tournament since her first full year on the tour in 2003.
The sixth-seeded Roddick, who lost to Roger Federer in the 2004 and '05 finals, has the big serve and grass-court experience to make him a perennial title contender. Instead, he failed to get to the third round for the first time in eight appearances at Wimbledon.
"I just didn't make anything happen out there tonight," he said. "Zero, zero, zero."
Despite scraping through the first set in a tiebreaker, Roddick came up short time and time again in trying to break the 40th-ranked Tipsarevic and squandered three set points in the final set. The Serbian player, meanwhile, got two breakpoint chances and converted both.
"I played just horrific shots on break points both ways," Roddick said. "I put myself in position to win that match in straight sets. It was just the big moments. I blinked. There's no way getting around that."
Tipsarevic acknowledged that he benefited from Roddick's frailties.
"I could see that he was tight and this is one of the reasons why, especially in those important moments, I made him play," he said. "If you look at the other guy, professional tennis players feel the intensity and see when the other guy is choking. If you read that, that's a great benefit for you."
The departures of Roddick and No. 3-ranked Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, who lost the previous day to Marat Safin, would seem to ease the way toward a third straight final between five-time champion Roger Federer and two-time runner-up Rafael Nadal.
Federer, who has won 61 consecutive grass-court matches and 36 straight at Wimbledon, was scheduled first up on Centre Court on Friday in a third-round match against 53rd-ranked Marc Gicquel of France.
Two-time women's champion Serena Williams was to face 2006 winner Amelie Maursemo in the next match on Centre, while top-seeded Ana Ivanovic was paired on Court 1 against China's Zheng Jie.
The 25-year-old Roddick's ultimate goal is to win another Grand Slam title to go with his sole major — the 2003 U.S. Open. He's skipping the Beijing Olympics to prepare for the Open. With Federer, Nadal and Djokovic dominating the sport this year, the prospects for Roddick may be fading.
"It's almost at this point win another Slam or what," he said. "It's a tough thing to deal with. I think I was trying to press so much, even from practice, just trying to get to a level where I thought I could compete for this title."
Roddick used a rock 'n' roll analogy to sum up his position.
"You know when you've seen the Rolling Stones from the front row, and then all of a sudden you're seven or eight rows back and there's a really tall guy in front of you waving his hands and screaming? You can't see much. It's not going to be as good as the other show.
"That's kind of what you're going to remember. Maybe you got to kind of get some baby steps to get back there."
Sharapova, who has three Grand Slam titles, hadn't lost so early in a major since going out in the first round at the Australian and French Open and second round at the U.S. Open in 2003.
Adding insult to the result, Kudryavtseva trashed her glamorous Russian rival's Wimbledon ensemble of tuxedo-style blouse and shorts.
"It's very pleasant to beat Maria," she said. "Why? Well, I don't like her outfit. It was one of my motivations to beat her."
Asked whether she felt Sharapova might feel offended by the comments, Kudryavtseva hardly backed off.
"If I'm not afraid to go play her and she's world No. 3, I'm not afraid she's going to catch me in the dressing room and say, 'You know what, you said you don't like my outfit. You were wrong.' I will say, 'Sorry. That's just my opinion."'