Please help me Andre, pleaded Youzhny

Please help me Andre, pleaded Youzhny

He might have raised a few disapproving eyebrows among Wimbledon’s head honchos but nobody would have blamed a tortured Mikhail Youzhny if he had chosen to use his racket end to scrape ‘Help Me!’ into the hallowed Centre Court turf.

After all, he is no stranger to conveying his innermost thoughts with his on-court artwork.

Thirty two days after scratching the word ‘SORRY!’ into Roland Garros’ red clay during a third-round bashing by David Ferrer, the Russian oddball found himself on the edge again after being on the receiving end of a royal thumping by six-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer.

In attendance were Wimbledon greats Rod Laver, Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi and it was perhaps unsurprising that when Youzhny found himself two sets down, he turned to tennis royalty for help.

“I asked Andre what I have to do. I asked if he could help me. If I had a chance, I would have asked everybody, there were a lot of top players sitting there (in the Royal Box),” Youzhny told reporters with a wry smile after the 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 hammering. “But Andre was sitting close so that’s why I asked him. He knows how to beat Roger and how to play on grass (so I thought he would be my best bet).

“He said (something in response) but it did not really help me because it was two sets too late. If we had played best of seven or nine or 11 (sets) ....,” Youzhny added. For those watching a majestic Federer in full flight, it was hard to imagine the result would have been any different even if they had played best of 11, 13 or even 15 sets. It would simply have prolonged Youzhny’s agony.

It was a feeling all too familiar to one guest in the Royal Box. If anyone could feel Youzhny’s pain, it was Mark Philippoussis -- after all the Australian was the first of Federer’s 16 Grand Slam final victims on the same stage in 2003.

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