Rios Defaulted at Mercedes Cup
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Marcelo Rios, angered when his opponent served before he was ready, was defaulted for swearing at the chair umpire in a first-round match at the Mercedes-Benz Cup on Wednesday night.
Rios, the No. 3 seed from Chile, trailed 5-3 in the first set against Goichi Motomura of Japan when he called for time as Motomura began serving. Motomura served an ace and chair umpire Tony Nimmons ruled Rios’ signal came too late.
Rios protested, saying he was distracted by moving fans. He used profanity during a four-minute tirade with Nimmons, who called in ATP Tour supervisor Gayle Bradshaw. After conferring with Nimmons, Bradshaw defaulted Rios.
``It’s not fair. I go to talk to him (Nimmons) and he says I said something bad,″ Rios said. ``I didn’t say it to him, I said it to me.″
Bradshaw decided that Rios ``said the magic words to the chair.″
``It was said to the official and he heard it,″ Bradshaw said.
Rios was unapologetic about the outburst, which will cost him $3,500 in prize money, his free hotel room and additional fines to be levied by Bradshaw.
``If I didn’t say it to him, I shouldn’t be sorry,″ Rios said. ``The sport is getting too strict. It bothers me because I didn’t say it to him.″
After Rios’ fireworks, No. 4 Michael Chang defeated Kevin Ullyett of Zimbabwe 6-1, 6-3.
Rios’ unexpected departure was the latest during a tournament already hard hit by the withdrawals of eight other players, including top-seeded Andre Agassi, who is still recovering from a post-Wimbledon car accident.
``It’s a little bit strange,″ Chang said of the upheaval. ``Andre’s accident is a freakish thing. You don’t have too many guys get defaulted in too many events. It’s unfortunate for the tournament.″
Motomura stayed behind the baseline and said he didn’t hear anything.
``I was surprised,″ he said of the default. ``I was playing good. There was a very small chance to win against him.″
Motomura quickly canceled his Thursday flight to Toronto and rescheduled it for Friday. He’ll play Australian Jason Stoltenberg on Thursday.
Just three days removed from his part in the United States’ third-worst Davis Cup defeat, Jan-Michael Gambill beat Cecil Mamiit 6-3, 6-2.
Gambill lost two singles matches as Spain stunned a weakened American squad 5-0, the first time in 101 years that the United States was beaten so badly without the Davis Cup title on the line.
``What happened in Spain was not that bad,″ Gambill said. ``We were so close to winning a few of those matches, but we didn’t do it.″
He had no such trouble with Mamiit, a former NCAA singles champion at Southern California. Gambill, the sixth seed, served seven aces in the 66-minute first-round match at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on the UCLA campus.
In two second-round matches, fifth-seeded Wayne Ferreira of South Africa needed nearly 2 1/2 hours to beat Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand 7-6 (1), 4-6, 7-5, while No. 8 Arnaud Clement of France defeated Neville Godwin of South Africa 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
Gambill’s Davis Cup teammate Vince Spadea never made it on court. Spadea, who lost a meaningless three-set match in Spain on Sunday, withdrew because of overhydration.
Spadea became the eighth player to drop out this week due to injuries or illness. Agassi withdrew Monday with lingering back problems.
Spadea was hospitalized Monday in Spain, arrived in Los Angeles on Tuesday and was examined by the tournament doctor Wednesday.
``I’m disappointed not to play in LA,″ he said. ``I was looking forward to playing, but something unexpected happened.″
Scott Humphries of Tampa, Fla., replaced Spadea in the draw as a lucky loser, and gave No. 2 seed Mark Philippoussis a battle before the Australian prevailed 7-5, 7-6 (2).
``He’s got nothing to lose, so he’s going to go out there swinging. I wasn’t that comfortable with my serve,″ said Philippoussis, who nevertheless had 11 aces and connected on 63 percent of his first serves.
Humphries dropped to 0-14 in ATP Tour career matches, although he beat Philippoussis for the 1994 Wimbledon junior singles title.
``I just keep plugging away. I’ve had a lot of close ones,″ said Humphries, who learned 1 1/2 hours before that he made the singles main draw.
Gambill was never in trouble in his first tournament since losing to eventual champion Pete Sampras in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. No less an authority than Sampras singled Gambill out as the future of American tennis.
``That’s the greatest compliment anyone has ever paid me,″ he said. ``Pete doesn’t pay compliments lightly. He doesn’t say anything at all. He just goes out there and plays, and that’s why I think he’s the greatest player to have ever played the game.″