Netflix’s Break Point highlights rising stars in the sport who are pushing to reach the top of tennis’ mountain and dethrone all-time greats like Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
A legend who provides insight into what it takes to do so is former World No. 1 Andy Roddick, who competed against Nadal and Djokovic for a large chunk of his career. ATPTour.com looks at insight the American provided in the new tennis series.
Roddick Spoke To The Difficulty Of Facing Legends
“When you’re playing against the greats, it really humbles you. You respected their abilities, you knew what they accomplished. But with Rafa, the game plan is very clear,” Roddick said in Episode 2. “You’re not going to get into extended rallies. His physicality and what he does so well is so difficult to deal with. You can’t dance around. You don’t want this thing going nine and 10 rounds. You’ve got to get in there and punch him in the mouth. You can’t wait.”
Roddick gave this explanation to contextualise Matteo Berrettini’s semi-final against Nadal at last year’s Australian Open. The Italian showed flashes of his potential, winning the third set against the lefty. But already down two sets, it was too late in a four-set defeat.
Casper ‘Hasn’t Gotten Enough Hype’
In Break Point’s fifth episode, the storyline focusses on 2022 Roland Garros, at which Casper Ruud broke through for his best run at a Grand Slam. The Norwegian advanced to his first major final on the Parisian clay.
Roddick did not comment on a specific aspect of Ruud’s game. Instead, he praised something else.
“I love Casper Ruud. He is one of the people who hasn’t gotten enough hype,” Roddick said of Ruud. “He’s not the person who brings attention to himself. He’s not a self promoter.”
What Makes Rafa Great On Clay
It is no secret that Roddick, who won five ATP Tour titles on clay, was at his best on quicker surfaces. However, the American explained Nadal’s clay-court dominance in a simple way, with his typical self-deprecation.
“The conversation has largely become who even has the potential to stop Rafa and the answer is not many,” Roddick said. “You watch Rafa on clay, the sliding isn’t an issue whereas someone like me who didn’t grow up on the surface, I looked like an elephant on roller skates.”
Roddick On Kyrgios’ Talent
Roddick won 32 tour-level titles in his career, including a major at the 2003 US Open. But he said of Nick Kyrgios on the Netflix series that, “I wish I would have had his talent.”
When a fan who watched the show tweeted that Roddick “had way more talent”, the former World No. 1 expanded his thoughts.
“Definitely didn’t,” Roddick tweeted. “I had lots of weaknesses to cover for and was a pretty “made” player. Like the greats, Nick’s racquet acts like a simple extension of his hand.”
Previewing The Next Episodes
Five more episodes are scheduled to be released later this year. At the end of the fifth episode, when there is a brief look at what is to come, Carlos Alcaraz was featured.
“Alcaraz feels like Rafa and Roger did,” Roddick said of the Spaniard, who won the 2022 US Open and climbed to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.