‘Rafael Nadal always had the get-out-of-jail-free card’, says former No.1

Rafael Nadal is experiencing yet another difficult moment in his career, this time with a foot injury. The Spanish champion has suffered from this problem since 2005, but he has always managed to manage it in some way. The pain had already returned during Roland Garros, in which his performance had been below expectations. The 35-year-old from Manacor took two months off by giving up Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, but there is still a long way to go back to the top. Rafa returned to the field in Washington, where his race was interrupted in the round of 16 by Lloyd Harris after having already risked a lot on his debut against Jack Sock. The Majorcan had seemed limping in some situations, a feeling that was confirmed in the following days. In fact, Nadal gave up the Masters 1000 in Toronto and Cincinnati, raising more than a few doubts about his presence at the US Open. During a conversation on the ‘Tennis Channel’, former ATP No. 1 Andy Roddick talked about his rivalry with the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

Roddick opens up on Rafael Nadal

“Yeah, a lot of those losses were (against) a guy named Rafael Nadal, unfortunately,” Andy Roddick said. “The thing is (only) 13% of the human population is lefty. You just don’t get the reps with the opposite spin as much.” The former World No. 1 also opined that Rafael Nadal is not a typical southpaw because his wide lefty serve isn’t as lethal as that of someone like Feliciano Lopez, Greg Rusedski orĀ Goran Ivanisevic. “And Rafa really didn’t present like a normal lefty as far as the serve is (concerned),” Roddick continued. “You think of a traditional lefty, you think of the big lefty servers in the men’s game, Feliciano Lopez’s, Rusedki’s, even Ivenisevic’s were a complete pain in the butt. But I actually didn’t mind playing those guys as much because I returned better on my backhand side; that’s the only thing I did better on the backhand side.” That makes it nearly impossible to do much except send the ball back tamely, thus handing Nadal the immediate advantage in the rally. “But Rafa, he always had the get-out-of-jail-free card where you might be ahead in a rally and he kind of flicks that hook forehand up,” Roddick explained. “And even if he misses it and it lands short, it’s still getting up and you really have no good option especially if you can’t knock the ball down the line, which was again, hard for me.”