Andy Roddick revealed on Fox Sports Live that he almost fought Novak Djokovic in the locker room after their match in the 2008 U.S. Open quarterfinals.
The match was filled with tension after Roddick accused Djokovic of faking injuries, and Djokovic exacerbated things by poking back at Roddick during an on-court interview after his four-set victory. The New York crowd even booed Djokovic off the court.
On Fox Sports Live, Roddick began recounting the confrontation with “this tennis player.” After the other panelists, including former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb, encouraged him to name the player, Roddick said it rhymes with “Schmovak Schmokovic.”
“I was talking trash, and he came out and beat the pants off me [in the match], as he would, but then kind of chirped afterward,” Roddick said. “So he comes straight [into the locker room], I went right up to him, had him up against the locker. But then I realized his trainer was a little bit bigger than Donovan and I kind of checked myself.”
Roddick’s story begins at the 1:35 mark:
Before the match, Roddick was asked about Djokovic’s myriad injuries and penchant for calling for medical timeouts. Roddick responded by suggesting that Djokovic was suffering from everything from a common coughing cold to anthrax and SARS. “If it’s there, it’s there,” Roddick said. “It’s just a lot. He’s either quick to call the trainer or he’s the most courageous guy of all time.”
A clip from Roddick’s pre-match press conference:
Djokovic ended up beating Roddick 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5), and then let loose a bitter post-match interview in which he sarcastically referred to Roddick’s attack.
“Well, obviously Andy was saying I had 16 injuries,” Djokovic said on court. “Obviously I don’t, right?”
As the partisan crowd began to boo, Djokovic kept going.
“I know [the fans] are already against me because they think I am faking everything,” Djokovic said. “That’s not nice anyhow to say in front of this crowd that I have 16 injuries and that I’m faking it.”
Roddick claimed he was just joking, and Djokovic admitted he overreacted to Roddick’s comments. The two spoke privately after the match, but refused to reveal any details about their conversation.
“Anything that’s going to be said between Novak and I is going to stay between Novak and I,” Roddick said after the match.
As it turns out, that private conversation was much more heated than we thought. But before everyone gets all riled up, Roddick tweeted Thursday that his relationship with Djokovic is perfectly fine.