Andy Roddick on strategizing against Rafael Nadal: "I could not extend points, it'd just be a slower, more painful death"

Andy Roddick (L) and Rafael Nadal
Andy Roddick (L) and Rafael Nadal

Andy Roddick recently looked back on how he strategized to play a match against Rafael Nadal.

Roddick and Nadal came face-to-face on the court 10 times between 2004 and 2011. Between the two, the Spaniard ended as the head-to-head leader with an advantage of 7-3.

In a recent episode of the Served With Andy Roddick podcast, Roddick dissected the Spaniard's performance at the 2009 US Open, where he lost to eventual champion Juan Martin Del Potro 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 in the semifinals.

Roddick attributed Del Potro's success in the semifinal to the Argentinian's trickery to unsettle his opponents.

"I think of Rafa like 2008 through 2011, where Del Potro in 2009 in the US Open semifinals, because he can throw haymakers and go through Rafa, he beat him 2, 2, and 2 in the semis," Roddick said (at 24:41).

The American then pointed out the Spaniard's weaknesses, suggesting the latter struggled against adversaries with a certain type of pace in their style of tennis. He then revealed his strategy of going for shorter rallies against the 22-time Grand Slam champion.

"He would take some losses sometimes when people could create certain pace mechanisms not when he’s playing great, not when he’s in the peak form. When it’s entirely not comfortable, there was a way to play Rafa. I could not extend points, it was not something that was ever going to work, it would just be a slower, more painful death," Roddick added.

"On clay, there was no chance but on a fast court, you could affect Rafael Nadal negatively" - Andy Roddick

Rafael Nadal with Andy Roddick at the 2011 US Open
Rafael Nadal with Andy Roddick at the 2011 US Open

In the aforementioned episode of the Served With Andy Roddick podcast, Andy Roddick dived deeper into the plans he used to prepare for Rafael Nadal.

He disclosed relying on sheer pace to have a chance over the Spaniard on hardcourts but there were no remedies for a claycourt duel. Roddick said (at 25:36):

"I had to go with blood-force trauma. I had to serve and volley more often than I wanted to.
"If I had two feet under a forehand, I’m not trying to find a spot in someone’s arsenal up, down, cross, line, I’m just unloading blindly with a sh*t load of pace. That’s what I had to do against Rafa and it rarely worked. On clay, there was no chance but on a fast court, you could affect him negatively."

Andy Roddick and Rafael Nadal played against each other for the last time in the quarterfinals of the 2011 US Open, where the latter secured a 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 win.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

Quick Links

App download animated image Get the free App now