Washington, Aug 27: Former champion Marat Safin laid into the "stupid rules" of tennis after a controversial foot-fault call almost derailed his progress into the second round of the US Open on Tuesday.
Leading American Vince Spadea two sets to one but trailing 4-5 and 40-40 in the fourth, Safin was foot-faulted on his second serve for apparently having his back foot partly across the centre line at the beginning of his serving motion.
The resultant double-fault gave Spadea set point, which he clinched, but Safin bounced back well in the decider to win 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
Winner of the 2000 US Open, the Russian was in customary belligerent mood when he greeted the media after the match.
"It's stupid rules that somebody made in, I don't know, 1850," Safin said.
"Now they give me the problems with these things and it shouldn't be that way."
The official rules state that a serve is a fault if a player, at any time in his service motion, touches or goes outside the imaginary extension of the centre mark with either foot.
Safin said it was ridiculous for a foot-fault to be called from the other end of the court.
"How can the guy see with sunglasses from 35 metres away on a foot-fault? It doesn't make any sense," the 28-year-old said. "Why do you want to do that? What for?
"It's not so complicated. The chair umpire, when they go with the linesman, first when I start to make the foot-fault, they should tell me: 'Listen, you're making a foot fault. Be careful. Next time I'm calling it'.
"And if you're making it on (the centre line), what difference does it make? Doesn't help me to serve better."
Safin, who next meets 15th-seeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo, said the rules should be changed.
"I think the people in tennis are missing some rules," the Russian added. "It's really, really disappointing in the fourth set because (after) a foot-fault on the second serve, you're facing set point.
"I think I have the point here and the people should do something about it. If you ask anybody in the locker room, they will tell you the same thing. It's wrong. The officials, they should change something, because they don't understand it."
"I'm 28," the double grand-slam champion said. "I've been already on tour for 10 years, and I want to enjoy my tennis. I don't want to fight anybody. I don't want any problems on the court. I just want to enjoy it.
"It's not like I'm playing because I'm starving to death and I need to do something original to earn money.
"I just want to have a nice match, win or lose, and whatever happens to go home. I wish I could play normal tennis and enjoy my matches sometimes."