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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 June, 2003, 21:02 GMT 22:02 UK
'I caused Rusedski rant'
Zilionis Ivaldes
Mr Zilionis said he could never return to Wimbledon
The man who claims to be responsible for the distraction which preceded Greg Rusedski's Wimbledon exit has apologised.

Accountant Evaldas Zilionis, 29, from south-west London, said his shout put the British number two off and contributed to his defeat by American Andy Roddick in the second round on Wednesday.

Rusedski mistook the shout for a line judge calling the ball out - and despite getting his return in, turned his back on Roddick's next shot, which landed in.

The umpire refused to replay the point, causing the Briton to lose his temper, for which he was fined 1,500.

The incident appeared to knock the player's concentration, because he lost his grip on the set and lost the match 7-6 7-6 7-5.

Mr Zilionis, from Kingston-upon-Thames, told BBC News 24 he had a message for Rusedski.

Greg Rusedski
Rusedski argued with the umpire for not replaying the point

He said: "I'm so sorry. I meant for you to win, not lose. I'm a football fan and I like the crowd to get involved in the game.

"I didn't understand the rules and I thought the point would be replayed."

He added: "If Greg calls me, I will pay his fine."

Mr Zilionis, wearing a Manchester United shirt, described what he had done as his "biggest cock-up".

But he admitted shouting at Venus Williams at the French Open, before she took her second serve. She played a double-fault.

Shame

The people sitting near him at Wimbledon had called him a "moron" when the consequences became clear, he said.

I'm unbelievably guilty. It's just stupid. I won't do it again
Evaldas Zilionis

The Lithuanian accountant, who arrived in England 10 years ago, vowed never to return to SW19, preferring to shout at his television and "cry in shame".

The BBC said it spent six hours running through tapes of the match to confirm that Mr Zilionis was the guilty fan and even used voice recognition procedures.

Rusedski, who stormed off court without shaking the umpire's hand, apologised for the abusive language, but did not escape a fine.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Rusedski fan Evaldas Zilionis
"I made a mistake and I am very sorry"



SEE ALSO:
Rusedski fined for outburst
26 Jun 03  |  Wimbledon 2003


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