Former world No. 1 Andy Roddick thinks Denis Shapovalov could potentially be a tricky opponent for Rafael Nadal.
Nadal, ranked at No. 4 in the world, is set to meet Shapovalov in the Rome last-16.
Going into the match, Roddick thinks Shapovalov will have to be aggressive and attack Nadal’s second serves.
On the other side, Roddick thinks Nadal will have to put in a good first serve percentage and he expects the Spaniard to attack Shapovalov’s backhand.
“What are the things that Shapovalov has (against Nadal) is lefty on lefty, so the high crosscourt forehand ball that Rafa likes to play to righties, where you’re trying to get it up and away in no-man’s land, doesn’t quite work as well against Shapo,” Roddick said on Tennis Channel, per Sportskeeda.
“He can get some big forehands off that (Nadal’s crosscourt forehand). He’s gonna have to attack second serves and take those big swings like he does. Rafa is going to try, I guess, he tries to make a high percentage of first serves in. Shapo, may be not as good on the first-serve return as he’s on the second-serve return.
“Rafa is gonna try to pin him in that backhand corner with that forehand up the line. Rafa actually flanks out that backhand crosscourt really well, so he’ll be peppering the Shapo backhand.”
Shapovalov can play well against Nadal
When Shapovalov and Nadal met for the first time at the 2017 Montreal Masters, then the teenage Shapovalov stunned Nadal in three sets.
Since then, Nadal has claimed four wins over Shapovalov but those wins weren’t quite easy.
Exactly a year ago at the Roem Masters, Nadal recovered from a set down to beat Shapovalov in a third-set tie-break.
When Nadal and Shapovalov met earlier this year at the Australian Open, Nadal edged out Shapovalov in five sets.
It remains to be seen if Nadal can clinch his fifth consecutive win over Shapovalov.