Andy Roddick's reasonable explanation on why he's not buying Rafael Nadal's RG claims

Roddick weighs in on Nadal casting doubt on his French Open participation and chances.

by Dzevad Mesic
Andy Roddick's reasonable explanation on why he's not buying Rafael Nadal's RG claims
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Andy Roddick says he is not really buying Rafael Nadal's humble French Open comments as the American tennis legend acknowledges the Spaniard has a history of "underpromising" and then "overdelivering."

After suffering certain setbacks in his recovery and being unable to start his clay season in time, Nadal made the decision to play in Barcelona and Madrid. Nadal playing in Madrid was a welcome sight for his fans and the entire tennis community but then the Spaniard sparked some fears after claiming he would not compete at the French Open if it was starting that day. 

But when Madrid started, Nadal looked solid on the court without evident physical issues as he claimed back-to-back straight-set wins over Darwin Blanch and Alex de Minaur before also overcoming Pedro Cachin in a three-hour three-setter. Even after a grueling battle versus Cachin, Nadal was still able to be very competitive against Jiri Lehecka the following day before falling 5-7 4-6 short in the round-of-16. 

"At the beginning of the tournament he said, ‘if I feel the way that I feel physically right now with confidence, not knowing what I have, I don’t know if I’ll play Roland Garros.’ I tend to not believe that. I think he’s the master of underpromising and overdelivering," Roddick said on the Served with Andy Roddick podcast.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Roddick: Nadal was always humble in his French Open comments 

At Roland Garros, Nadal is a record 14-time champion - he has never lost a French Open final - and his astonishing French Open success is widely considered one of the most fascinating things in all of sports. But never in his career Nadal declared himself the French Open winner of advance or spoke about himself as someone who was the heavy favorite to win it all at Roland Garros.

Most recently, Nadal claimed in 2022 he wasn't sure if he was going to be able to play, and if he managed to play, how much he would be able to do. But in the end, Nadal managed to play - overcome his foot issue - and win his 14th French Open title. En route to winning the 2022 French Open title, Nadal also defeated Novak Djokovic in the final. 

Roddick, the 2003 US Open champion, funnily told how to this day he remembers well from his playing days some of the humble comments Nadal was making whenever asked about playing someone at Roland Garros. 

"During his prime, he’d be going into like the first round of Roland Garros against someone ranked like 70 in the world and be like, 'I don’t know it could go either way,'" Roddick recounted.

"I used to not really believe that, I’d go like full Davenport violent eye roll when he would say it but then I honestly think he just works from a place of this could go wrong, I’m going to hustle my way to make it not so and give my best effort."

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

What Nadal said before and after Madrid?

Before launching his Madrid campaign, here is how Nadal raised concerns about his French Open participation.

"If I was in Paris today, I wouldn't go out to play," Nadal said in his pre-Madrid press conference.

"I don't think I'll be able to play at 100 percent but it's important to be able to play for the last time in Madrid. It means a lot to me to play on this court where I've had some great moments.

"This doesn't mean I'm giving up on anything in the next few weeks, I don't know what might happen. I'm going to do the things I have to do to be able to play in Paris. And if I can, I can and if I can't, I can't. I'm going to Paris if I feel like I'm good enough... I'm going to Paris if I feel capable enough to compete."

But after appearing in four matches and clinching three wins at Caja Magica, Nadal sounded more positive. 

"I was able to play four matches, a couple of tough matches. So very positive, winning three matches, playing four matches at the high level of tennis. I enjoyed a lot playing at home. I leave here with very positive energy," Nadal said after concluding his Madrid run.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

After making his first back-to-back appearances in a long time, Nadal has arrived in Rome and he is now also scheduled to compete at Foro Italico. In Rome, Nadal is a record 10-time champion, and since this is likely his last appearance at Foro Italico, there will be enormous interest in the Spaniard's matches.

For Nadal, clinching a couple of more wins in Rome and avoiding injuries would certainly be massive ahead of the French Open and his chances of doing well at Roland Garros. 

Andy Roddick Rafael Nadal French Open