Former world No. 1 Andy Roddick has suggested that completely focusing on the surfaces Rafael Nadal prefers the most has been one of the main reasons why the Spaniard hasn't yet won a Nitto ATP Finals title. Nadal, who recently equaled Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slam titles, hasn't won an indoors title in over seven years and that's his least favorite surface.
"I think it's a great surface for Novak and Roger, that's probably first and foremost. He has done a masterful job of trying to play a home game, dictating the schedule to the surfaces he plays his best, and that's not it," Roddick said on Tennis Channel.
On Sunday, world No. 2 Nadal made a winning start to his campaign at The O2 Arena as he saw off rising Russian Andrey Rublev 6-3 6-4. "It's important to start well, of course, for the confidence, because winning [in] straight sets helps," Nadal said after his opening match at the Nitto ATP Finals, per the tournament's website.
Roddick on Tennis Channel, why Rafa never won the WTF:
"I think it's a great surface for Novak and Roger, that's pbbly first and foremost.
He has done a masterful job of trying to play a home game, dictating the schedule to the surfaces he plays his best, and that's not it."
— C Kristjánsdóttir ●🐊 (@CristinaNcl) November 15, 2020
"The serve tonight was very important. I played solidly with my serve. I didn't suffer much, and that helps [me] to play more relaxed on the return. That's what I did." Nadal thrilled with his performance "[I'm] happy the way I approached the match.
The first match is always difficult, and Andrey played an amazing season," Nadal said. "He's a great guy, too, so I wish him all the very best." World No. 8 Rublev has captured five titles so far this season and he has drawn lots of positive attention to his name with his results in 2020.
"I was not serving good at all because I was a little bit nervous, which is normal," Rublev said. "When he broke me in the second set I relaxed and I started to serve much better. Then [it] was [a] different game, but it was too late."
Prior to the start of the Nitto ATP Finals, former British No. 1 Tim Henman said Nadal wasn't the top favorite for the title but added the Spaniard would have his chances. "When you set the bar so high, when you look at his record indoors and sort of say, “Oh, it’s not too good”,' Henman said.
"But he’s won a Masters series indoors, he’s been in the final of the ATP Finals on two occasions I think. He’s still got a very good chance. "I don’t think he’s the favourite this coming tournament but he’ll still fancy his chances if he’s fit and healthy."