Article: Serena, Roddick Accuse Sprem Of Unsportslmanike Conduct
Updated: 11:33 AM EDT
Tennis-Wimbledon-Serena, Roddick slam Sprem over umpire error
By Pritha Sarkar, Reuters
LONDON, June 25 (Reuters) - Serena Williams and Andy Roddick accused Karolina Sprem of being unsporting in accepting a point awarded to her in error during her upset victory over Venus Williams at Wimbledon.
British umpire Ted Watts made the blunder in the second set tiebreak on Thursday when he handed Sprem a point after she faulted on a first serve.
The Croatian went on to win the second-round match 7-6 7-6, condemning Venus to her earliest defeat at Wimbledon for seven years.
"As a competitor and a professional you should be able to distinguish between right and wrong," champion Serena said when she was asked about the incident in her sister's match.
"I've never been in a situation like that before but I'm an honest individual. So if I were in that situation, I know I would make the right choice."
After her victory, Sprem said she not given it any second thought while on court.
"I was confused ... I was like 100 per cent in the match," the 19-year-old Croatian said.
But men's second seed Roddick said that in similar circumstances such an incident would not have passed him by.
"Personally I'd have trouble just taking a point from someone," said the American. "I've heard no one noticed but if it's the biggest match of your life, I'm figuring you know what the score is.
"But I'd have a real issue just pretending nothing was wrong and just taking the point."
While Sprem failed to win any admirers among the Americans for her conduct, Venus, who made little of the matter and said it had not turned the match, was praised for the way she handled the situation.
"She's always been a person that handled herself with complete aplomb and self-assurance just a very classy individual," said Serena.
Roddick concurred: "I thought she handled it with a lot of class. I don't know what I would have done in that situation. Probably wouldn't have been pretty.
"But I think she was great about it. Probably behind the scenes she wants to kick someone. But I definitely have to respect the way she handled it."
As a result of his mistake, the All England Club announced that Watts would no longer officiate at this year's tournament.
"If players make mistakes and go over the line, then they get punished," said Roddick, the U.S. Open champion.
"So maybe it should be the same for umpires. But we all make mistakes. You'd just hope it's not on Centre Court at Wimbledon. If this had happened on court 13 with a qualifier playing a qualifier, we would never have heard about it.
"It's unfortunate for him it happened on a pretty big stage when someone was on the verge of an upset."
06/25/04 11:31 ET
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