Andy Roddick: Rafael Nadal not Australian Open favorite even without Novak Djokovic

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Andy Roddick: Rafael Nadal not Australian Open favorite even without Novak Djokovic

Former world No. 1 Andy Roddick doesn't believe Rafael Nadal would be the favorite for the Australian Open even if Novak Djokovix indeed skipped the opening Grand Slam of the season. On Saturday, the Australian Open officially confirmed unvaccinated players will not be allowed to play at Melbourne Park.

Djokovic, a record nine-time Australian Open champion, has refused to reveal his vaccination status and he didn't want to confirm his participation at Melbourne Park. Nadal, who called it a season in August due to a foot injury, captured his lone Australian Open title in 2009.

"This new wrinke where Rafa comes in and the route to the Australian Open title doesn't have to go through Novak... Listen I don't think Rafa is the favorite regardless if Novak is there or not," Roddick said during his appearance on Tennis Channel.

Nadal praised by Casper Ruud

Ruud, who captured five ATP titles this season, spoke extremely positively of Nadal as a person and as a player. "I think his whole character is inspiring. He's very, very competitive. Doesn't matter if it's tennis, golf, he's a very competiitve guy.

Somewhat he has two personalities, one on the court where he is the fiercerul, a tough guy that plays with a lot of intensity. You will always see him being nice and respectul to his opponents. Then you have him off the court where is a very, very normal, a very nice guy.

Always says hi," Ruud said of Nadal. "Whenever he is around Mallorca in the academy, everyone treats him like a normal person because they're kind of used to him there. I think he enjoys that. I probably would if I was in his position.

It's nice to see he's a very, very normal guy at least in the circumstances when he's at home in Mallorca."