Former world No. 1 and 32-time title winner Andy Roddick recently weighed in on the chances of former US Open winner Emma Raducanu as she prepares for her 2024 season.
A US Open winner himself, an Betway‘s current Global Tennis Ambassador, Roddick had this to say about the Brit:
“It’s tough because we don’t know if it’s a recurrence of the same two injuries that she has or if it’s a fitness issue or maybe the training is going so well they don’t want to interrupt a really cohesive training block with a trip to Macau in December.
That’s always an awkward time to play an exhibition event. I liked playing them right after the season ends or right before the season begins because it gives you more uninterrupted training. Maybe that’s just what she felt she needed. I’d be guessing at this point.
I know one thing that has to happen if she’s going to go start playing a Slam in Australia, she’s going to have to play something before. There’s going to have to be a 250, I would even like to see her play two events in the lead-up, because there’s just nothing guaranteed. You want those matches.
So I’d be curious to see if, in the next 10 days, two weeks, we hear anything else about her intended schedule.”
Elsewhere, Roddick also provided his take on Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner as we move closer to 2024.
Connors’ record will be Novak’s next obsession
“The way Novak Djokovic played across the last two games of the ATP Finals was as good of a two-day, 24-hour performance that I’ve ever seen, said Roddick.”
“Carlos Alcaraz served 84 per cent first serves and still lost three and two. Jannik Sinner was the best player for 90 per cent of the tournament but then, for that last hour, Novak just went crazy. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen him serve better than he did this week.
What’s amazing to me is the way he’s able to pick and choose his spots and not need a lot of time to get into match shape. He was pushed early on at Bercy and Turin, but just seems to get better as the tournaments go on.
Every major statistical marker is in his rearview, but he still has Jimmy Connors’ all-time titles record of 109 to go after. That’s certainly something that’s within his grasp, so I fully expect him to obsess over that number like he’s obsessed over so many others. Once he gets past the field in all of them, I think we’ll maybe get a true understanding of what the timeline will be for him.”
Sinner has reached next level
Speaking about the Italian’s week in Turin, Roddick said: “It was a big week for Sinner after a great six months. He’s now graduated to that stage of being No.3 or No. 4 in the world and being in the mix every week. All of a sudden, you’re looking at him maybe being able to sneak a major and not feel like you’re projecting too far forward into the future.
He’s worked on his serve and has gotten a lot stronger after adding muscle to his skinny frame in the last off-season. You used to be able to count on some weird errors in tight situations, but his error counts have dropped.
He’s just becoming more and more of a complete player with every month that passes, and closing out tournament wins against big players. If I’m in Sinner’s team, next year can’t get here soon enough, even after a long season.”
Australia will suit Alcaraz
The big serving American also had this to saying about Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz: “This week wasn’t the best surface for Alcaraz, but the round-robin format was great for him leading into next year. He was on a three-match losing streak after losing the first match and battled back with two really good wins to steady the ship.
If, at the start of the year, you’d have said, “Hey, listen, you’re going to win Wimbledon,” then I think he takes that without even hearing the rest. There were some bumps in the road towards the end of the year – and maybe he learned some lessons about fitness and timelines at Roland Garros – but, all in all, what a season it’s been for him.
People forget he didn’t play Australia last year because of injury, so he has no points to defend until February. Australia will be a very good surface for him, especially if it gets hot down there. I’m curious to see how that heavy ball he hits, if it gets really warm, is going to jump off that surface.”
Nadal’s statement showed intent
Finally, we can’t forget about Rafael Nadal. Roddick had these thoughts on the legendary Spaniard’s return to the sport: “Nadal saying that he genuinely believes he will play again was a big thing to hear. What Rafa says, and the way he says it, is important. He’s usually pretty cautious with his statements, but he was clear with his intent. That tells me he’s in a good mind frame which means his health is good.
If he is going to play the Australian Open, then I would imagine he’d need to play a lower-level event before to get some matches in.
I think we’re going to work backwards from early May. He’s going to have Roland Garros circled on his calendar to try to attack that event one last time, and every decision that he makes for the next couple of months will have to be in lockstep with the strategy for that tournament.”