Football Football
Horse Racing Horse Racing
Cricket Cricket
Basketball Basketball
Golf Golf

Andy Roddick: Connors’ record will be Novak’s next obsession

21 Nov | BY Andy Roddick | MIN READ TIME |
Andy Roddick: Connors’ record will be Novak’s next obsession

The Betway ambassador reacts to an eventful week at the ATP Finals and reveals who he thinks is set for a big 2024 on both the men's and women's tours.

Visit Betway for the latest sports betting markets.

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.

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. 


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.


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. 


Rafael 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.


This little close-season period is huge. I used to almost prioritise this part of the year more than a World Tour final, depending on where I was at. This is a real opportunity to get your body perfect and set the table for next year to avoid injuries. 

You can lift as much as you want, run as much as you want, and you’re also taking out travel. Lactic acid on airplanes, different mattresses and pillows – all these things that can affect your body negatively. To have a controlled environment for six weeks is rocket fuel, especially for the players that are professional and disciplined.

You can always tell who’s been putting in the work when you land in Australia, and I used to say that was worth an extra 10 or 12 match wins a year just based on what you were doing in December. 


It was a bit of a two-person race with Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka this year so, on the women’s side, it’s all about who can push the leaders. 

One of the interesting storylines is going to be whether Coco Gauff can make a run at the No.1 ranking. I love Coco. You’d be looking for her to work on the serve a little bit this off-season. She has a big arm, so it’s about getting some more margin there.

On the men’s side, Ben Shelton had never even left the country this time a year ago, and now he’s No.17 in the world, can serve at 145mph and has made runs in a couple of Slams. 

He didn’t win back-to-back matches for an extended period after Australia, so having the run he did at the US Open, going to Shanghai and playing well and then winning a 500 tournament in Tokyo was a big deal. He’s still learning what he wants to actually do with his game week in, week out, so it will be exciting to see how he starts the year.

Andy Roddick

Andy Roddick

A US Open champion and former world No. 1 who won 32 ATP Tour titles.

Andy Roddick

Andy Roddick

A US Open champion and former world No. 1 who won 32 ATP Tour titles.

Tennis Rankings