Andy Roddick details how he played Rafael Nadal and avoided 'slower, painful death'

Roddick won three out of 10 meetings versus Nadal.

by Dzevad Mesic
Andy Roddick details how he played Rafael Nadal and avoided 'slower, painful death'
© Getty Images Sport - Al Bello

Andy Roddick reveals his tactic against Rafael Nadal on hard was just to play as aggressively and quickly as possible as it didn't take him long before he realized that extending points against the Spaniard would only mean "a slower and more painful death."

Roddick, a former world No. 1, clashed against Nadal 10 times and he had certain success, winning three of their 10 meetings. To no one's surprise, all of those three wins came on hard, where Roddick was a strong force in his prime. 

In 2004 - shortly after Roddick won a Grand Slam and became the world No. 1 - he defeated Nadal at the US Open but also lost to the Spaniard in a Davis Cup match that was played on clay. 

After meeting twice in 2004, Roddick and Nadal didn't meet again until 2007. Then between 2007 and 2011, Roddick and Nadal clashed eight more times. Of those eight meetings, only one was played on clay while the rest took place on a hard surface. In that one match that was played on clay in the 2008 Davis Cup, Nadal dominated Rodick 6-4 6-0 6-4. 

While Nadal managed to also win five times against Roddick on hard, that was also the surface where the American found a way to beat the Spaniard. 

Andy Roddick and Rafael Nadal
Andy Roddick and Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Al Bello

Roddick on how he played against Nadal 

"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," Roddick said on the Served with Andy Roddick podcast.

"I could not extend points, it was not something that was ever going to work, it would just be a slower, more painful death.

"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 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
Andy Roddick © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

The last meeting between Roddick and Nadal happened at the 2011 US Open, just a year before the American's retirement. Nadal easily defeated Roddick 6-2 6-1 6-3 and the two never played again.

Andy Roddick Rafael Nadal