Marcos Baghdatis given code violation for using cellphone at US Open

Baghdatis gets code violation for using phone during match (0:25)

Marcos Baghdatis is caught looking at his phone during a break in his fourth-round US Open match against Gael Monfils and is issued a code violation. (0:25)

NEW YORK -- As excuses go, a tennis player saying he used his cellphone during a Grand Slam match because he wanted to check the time is right up there with "my dog ate my homework."

But that is precisely the defense Marcos Baghdatis pleaded when given a code violation for scrolling through his iPhone during his fourth-round loss to Gael Monfils at the US Open on Sunday.

The former Australian Open finalist was caught holding his phone close to a towel at a changeover after being broken to go down 4-1 in the second set of the match, which he went on to lose 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.

Players are not allowed to check cellphones during matches due to rules prohibiting coaching, and chair umpire Alison Hughes issued a warning. The official reason was announced as "unsportsmanlike conduct," and Baghdatis was bemused.

At the next changeover, he stood near Hughes' chair to give his case. "What if I want to check the time? I cannot check the time?" he asked.

The excuse didn't wash, though, given the presence of a giant digital clock on the new Grandstand Stadium court at Flushing Meadows.

Baghdatis later changed his tune, saying he picked up his phone because he wanted to send a message to his wife, former top-20 player Karolina Sprem.

"There are rules," he later told reporters. "I guess I broke the rules and I got a warning for it.

"I never wrote a message to anybody during a match before, but I thought, 'Why not?'"

But what was so important that he had to tell his wife in the middle of his match?

"No way I'm going to share what the message was," Baghdatis said, laughing. "Nice try, though. No way."

Baghdatis was playing in his first Grand Slam fourth round since Melbourne in 2009, but Sunday's match wasn't an occasion he will remember fondly -- he got just 36 percent of his first serves in against 10-seed Monfils and made 43 unforced errors.

"I think I had the worst day of my life on my serve," said the 31-year-old.