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Kournikova will not play the rest of year
Ljubicic: Players don't like Roddick's celebrations and told him to 'kick Andy's ass'
Roddick: I respect everyone and needed the crowd

By Matthew Cronin
*******************



Anna Kournikova interviews tennis player Alex Bogolomov.
Fred Mullane/Camerawork USA, Inc.
FROM THE US OPEN – Russian starlette Anna Kournikova has decided to take the rest of the year off in hopes that her injured back will heal.

Kournikova told ******************* back surgery is an option, but, at this point, she doesn't want to take that opportunity because it could take her out of competition for eight months or longer.

Kournikova, who hasn't played a tournament since the spring, said that she was striking the ball really well in June before she her back seized up on her while preparing for a grass court tournament in Birmingham, UK. She added that the injury began to negatively affect other parts of her body.

Kournikova did say that she is planning on a comeback and added that she really misses playing.

The 22-year-old Russian debuted at this week's US Open as a celebrity reporter for USA Network. She said that while she enjoyed her new role, she decided not to take option to continue during the second week of the tournament. Kournikova mentioned that she was uncomfortable interviewing her fellow players.


© Mark Lyons
"This was her first time on TV and she worked really hard," said US Network spokesman Tom Caraccioli.

Kournikova said she was so busy during her three days on the air that she unable to attend the MTV Music awards. She also mentioned that as TV reporter, she found herself tempted to eat a lot of snacks. Because of her back injury, she is unable to run and instead works out on an elliptical trainer.
While in New York, the Russian threw out the first pitch of a New York Yankees versus Chicago White Sox and received a standing ovation.

"I guess that people really miss seeing me play and I miss playing, too," she said.

Ljubicic: Players don't like Roddick's celebrations and told him to 'kick Andy's ass'
Roddick: I respect everyone and needed the crowd
How hot under the collar was Ivan Ljubicic after his 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 7-6 (8) loss in raucous Ashe Stadium to Andy Roddick on Friday night? About as fired up as Goran Ivanisevic was during one of his vintage meltdowns in NY. He was upset with the crowd, with the linespeople, who he felt were influenced by Roddick, and with Roddick himself, who he says is way to demonstrative on court.


Susan Mullane/Camerawork USA, Inc.
"I think that anywhere in the world, except in the United States, if we played this match, I won it," Ljubicic said. "He's acting on the court and stuff like that. … It affected the linesmen; it affected the crowd. It affected everyone else except me. In a match like this, that's what makes the change. … Generally, I don't like him. Nobody in the locker room like his acting on the court. He's a good player. He's gonna win a lot of matches, but not because he's like that. It's just that we don't like it. Because nobody acts like that. He's the only one. Every single player said to me, 'Good luck. Kick his ass.'"


Roddick wasn't pleased with Ljubicic's accusations and tried to take the high road. Only twice did the match did he try pump up the crowd by waving his arms.

"I think that's pretty much sour grapes. I think the linesmen did their job," he said. That really doesn't deserve a response. I don't think that's very respectful. I definitely don't have anything bad to say about him. So, it's disappointing."

Roddick – who is friends with other American young players – says he's never heard that other competitors don't like his celebratory ways.

"No. I don't really care either," he said. "I try to treat everybody with a lot of respect. I'm not mean to people. I'm very courteous to people. I'm not worried. I'd be worried if I was doing things that I thought were causing that. I try to treat everybody with respect. If they're talking, they're not talking to me about it, which would be the mature thing to do. I think it's easy to come and talk to journalists about it."

Ljubicic said that Roddick deliberately employed the crowd to get on his foe and insinuated that the 21-year-old American would be a lesser player if he didn't have the home crowd pulling him through.

"He doesn't respect the others," Ljubicic said. "It's in your face or it's not in your face, doesn't matter. Some other player's going in your face and you understand that they just want to win a match. But what he's doing is just pumping up the crowd, which is, in the United States he can do it. Fortunately for him, there is like 70 percent of the big tournaments are played in the States. He's No. 4 in the world for that."

RODDICK SAYS CROAT CROWDS CHEERED LJUBICIC
Roddick countered that when Ljubicic led Croatia to a 3-2 win over the US back in February, it wasn't as if he was playing in a temple of silence.

"I watched the Davis Cup from home when the Croatian fans were behind Ivan. I saw a lot of excitement, too," Roddick said. "I'll never do it to my opponent. If anything, it's to my box or to the fans. I don't think I've ever tried to disrespect anybody. I'd like to think if he had 20,000 some-odd Croats behind him, too, he'd probably get a little juiced. I feel bad if that got on his nerves or something. I wish he would have come to me and said, 'This got on my nerves.' I probably would have taken it a lot better and respected his opinion a lot more. Tonight I definitely needed [the crowd]. They were there for me. It's not like I'm up 6-2, 6-1, 5-0 and I'm going nuts. That was an intense match. But I feel bad that he was bothered by it. But sometimes that's the way it goes sometimes. You can't please everybody."

Whether Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt's serial fist pumping is good for game is a hot topic. But a similar topic raged in the 1970s and 1980s as to whether Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe's nuclear explosions were good for the game and now at least a couple million fans and commentators have noted that it's those type of personalities that are missed in today's game.

"In the past I'm sure there were lot worst players than him," Ljubicic "It's part of the game. It's just that we don't like it. There's nothing to do about it. It's not like we don't like it so we have to change it. No, it's him. We don't like him, but who cares. … Maybe it's good for the game. I'm not saying that it's bad. For sure, we need some something different in a game. Because we need some interesting guys out there. But you can be interesting also in the positive way."

Roddick said that he might try to make peace with Ljubicic.

"I might apologize for making him upset even though I don't agree with the whole thing," Roddick said. "We're gonna be on tour together for many years, so I don't want any hard feelings."

The oddest moment of the evening came when after trashing Roddick, Ljubicic wished him a happy birthday while walking down the hall just now after his press conference. "I was thinking, 'That's pretty classy,' " Roddick said
 

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Freewoman33 said:
Does the fact that she wears high heels (pumps) worsen her back, or prolong the recovery process? Just wondering.
I have a bad back and heels kill me. I don't understand how they can walk in hills, Monica was wearing high heeled pumps, 2 summers ago when she had the stress fracture in her foot and so was Anna, I always wondered if that would affect the healing of the foot also.
 
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