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HomeSportsTennisHow Can Casper Ruud Make Inroads Against Djokovic and Nadal? Andy Roddick's...

How Can Casper Ruud Make Inroads Against Djokovic and Nadal? Andy Roddick’s Take

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday, November 21, 2022

After watching Casper Ruud fall quick in opposition to Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s title match on the ATP Finals, former World No.1 Andy Roddick had some ideas on what might make Ruud a extra harmful participant in opposition to the cream of the crop.

Given that Ruud, who finishes the season at No.3 for his greatest year-end career-high rating, owns a 0-9 lifetime file in opposition to the Top-3.

Ruud, who nonetheless has but to win a title above the 250-level, should discover methods to earn wins in opposition to the Djokovic’s and Nadal’s of the world, at the very least within the near-term, as a result of it doesn’t appear to be both participant is keen to surrender any floor (they gained three of the 4 main titles on supply in 2022, and that was with Djokovic lacking two of the 4).

Roddick says that the Norwegian ought to change up his playbook with the intention to have a greater likelihood to make an influence in opposition to Nadal and Djokovic.

“If we’re nitpicking he’s been exposed a little bit because it’s weird because when you get to a certain level your strengths almost become your weaknesses and I’ll explain what I mean,” Roddick mentioned on Tennis Channel. “Him going way back on second serve returns against 98 percent of [the ATP] is a great play and it’s one that puts him in the right position to win matches and to dominate that side of the court. But against someone like a Rafa, Rafa likes it when guys go back, it gives him a little bit more time. Against someone like Novak, going back doesn’t do much because he’s so good at firming up that first ball.

“So if he can try to thread the needle between working on maybe getting up on some second serve returns, just for situational matchups, that’s what it’s gonna take. He’s gonna have to find a way to kind of play outside of his comfort zone and play well.”


Roddick was fast to level out simply how a lot enchancment Ruud has made, notably together with his backhand wing, which was as soon as a legal responsibility however is now very stable and laborious to choose aside. He additionally counseled Ruud’s apparent enhancements by way of consistency and on laborious courts, the place he has far and away exceeded expectations.

“As far as improvement inside of his comfort zone, the guy’s been a 10 out of 10 this year,” he mentioned. “Unbelievable progress, especially on surfaces that shouldn’t naturally make a lot of sense to him with what he does well.”

Roddick says that Ruud is hitting the ball with extra “freedom” off the backhand wing.

“The swing path feels a lot freer,” he mentioned. “From start to finish, it doesn’t feel like there’s any kind of wasted motion on that side now.”

And he echoed the emotions of Ruud himself, who informed reporters that he felt he “overachieved” in his personal thoughts.

“Props to props to Casper Ruud onward and upward – improvement more than I would have guessed I would have seen from him two years ago, especially on the faster surfaces, well done,” Roddick concluded.

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