The 2003 U.S. Open champion had much bigger problems Wednesday night at Flushing Meadows, though, and bowed out in the second round with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (4) loss to 44th-ranked Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia.
The ninth-seeded Roddick often says the key to his game is how well he returns. He never was able to solve the serve of Tipsarevic, who wound up with 16 aces — only one fewer than the hard-hitting Roddick — and saved three of five break points he faced.
Tipsarevic also was terrific from the baseline, repeatedly winning lengthy rallies and passing Roddick when the 28-year-old American came to the net. Tipsarevic never before had reached the third round at the U.S. Open, and now will play No. 17 Gael Monfils.
Roddick won his only Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows, and he also was the runner-up in 2006. His loss Wednesday leaves Roger Federer as the only past U.S. Open champion in the men's field.
This early exit follows a fourth-round loss for Roddick at Wimbledon and some poor results on the summer hard-court circuit, usually his best time of year. But he revealed recently that he had a mild case of mononucleosis and said he did not come to New York feeling 100 percent ready.
Already trailing 5-2 in the third set, Roddick wound up in an argument over a foot-fault call on the game's first serve. He turned to the official and asked, "What foot?"
When she told him his right foot, he replied, "That's impossible." Roddick then turned to chair umpire Enric Molina and asked, "Has this foot gone in front of that foot ever in my career?"
Molina replied: "Not in my matches."
That's when Roddick began berating the lineswoman — although without the threatening or colorful language that Serena Williams used when she launched a tirade at a line judge over a foot call at the end of her semifinal loss to Kim Clijsters in last year's semifinals.
"Not once in my entire career does my right foot go in front of my left foot," Roddick said. "Not once. Ever."
He missed his second serve for a double-fault, then continued to harangue the official, at one point jokingly making a reference to "1-800-Rent-a-Ref."
A TV replay showed Roddick did commit a foot fault — but with his left foot.
The lineswoman was not on court at the start of the fourth set, when Roddick was called twice more for foot faults.