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Andy Roddick: I hope Murray gets the send-off he deserves

06 Mar | news | BY Andy Roddick | MIN READ TIME |
Andy Roddick: I hope Murray gets the send-off he deserves

The Betway ambassador previews Indian Wells, discusses the Netflix Slam, and pays tribute to the man with 'the highest tennis IQ we've ever seen'.

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It’s unclear exactly when Andy Murray will retire after saying he doesn’t expect to play much past the summer, but I hope he gets the send-off he deserves. I couldn’t have more respect for what he was able to get out of his career.

His stats are just off the charts, especially considering the generation he played in. His tennis IQ is probably as high as we’ve ever seen. What he does so well isn’t as obvious to the eye as Rafa’s physicality or Roger’s fluency and movement.

He worked for everything that he got, and I find it hard to overstate the importance of him breaking through and winning Wimbledon and Olympic gold.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for dealing with this moment when it comes. For me, I woke up one morning and retired that afternoon. With Andy, it’s probably something that he’s thought about over the last four or five years.

I remember the press conference in Australia in 2019 where he got emotional because he thought maybe that’s it, and then he was able to come back and be a version of himself that was still effective at tour level, reaching a couple of finals and getting back close to the top 30.

That’s a pretty big testament to his willpower and I certainly admire his willingness to lay it all out there, even while being physically compromised and basically playing on one leg. I hope he has that big moment on Centre Court and feels the appreciation that the tennis world has for him.

Adios, Rafa?

Time is undefeated, but you also hope that Rafael Nadal gets one last run of a couple months of good health, starting with Indian Wells.

Every decision that he makes now is just working backwards from trying to be prepared for the French Open. His game fits very well with Indian Wells, it’s just going to a question of whether his movement has taken a hit and how much his play will be affected by those hip and muscular issues.

It could very well be the last time that he plays on American soil, so I hope the fans are present and appreciate that being the most likely possibility.

Streaming events are the future

I was in the building doing TV for the Netflix Slam between Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz on Sunday and the energy was huge. It was high drama. Vegas is obviously a great place for that type of event and it really opened my eyes to the value that streaming could have in putting on these one-night matches.

To be able to have that sort of exposure and choose the timing of it – at 15:30 Eastern time in the States and prime time in Spain – without being at the will of a bunch of other matches is a super advantage.

I thought they were both trying to find form a little bit but anytime you can squeeze out a match with those tournament-like circumstances and buzz in the air, all of those feelings will be good for them moving forward.

Alcaraz may struggle to defend his title

It’s a very rough surface at Indian Wells. The court feels like rubbing your hand on a piece of sandpaper. That cuts the ball a little bit more but the air is thin and there’s no humidity, so the ball still travels through the air. It’s a mix of a couple of factors that seem to be working against each other.

Alcaraz is the defending champion and the surface probably benefits his game the best, but I feel like he is searching for his best level right now. He hasn’t made a final since Cincinnati in August last year and hasn’t won a tournament since Wimbledon, and rolling his ankle in Rio last month won’t have helped momentum going in.

I have zero worries about Carlos long-term, but the two favourites in Jannik Sinner – who backed up his win in Australia at the Rotterdam Open – and Novak Djokovic – who is probably the best ever on this type of surface – will have more confidence heading in.

Big names should go well in the women’s

The surface should also help the games of all the top players on the women’s side. Iga Swiatek is strongest on clay, and any mental hangover for Aryna Sabalenka off the heels of Australia should be gone.

Coco Gauff moved up to No.3 towards the end of last year and I would throw Elena Rybakina into the mix too. She’s more of a heart rate monitor type of player where her peaks are very high but with a few more valleys, but she’s the defending champion and has a good record against the top players.

Emma Raducanu has been offered a wildcard, but potentially has a back-up plan of going to play some Challengers after that. When you’re in her position of coming back after such a long time out, you don’t want to lose in the first or second round and then have to wait two-and-a-half weeks to Miami and end up only playing two to four matches in the space of five or six weeks.

You can practice all you want, but you can’t replicate match conditions and being under the gun at deuce in a set that is tied at 4-4, so I would be looking to have as many matches as possible to try and build that confidence.

Elsewhere on tour

It’s also been nice to see some new names in the limelight at the start of the season.

Katie Boulter played great from start to finish in San Diego last week. It doesn’t seem like she goes in and out of form as much and she’s found that level that has seen her break into the top 30 for the first time. Jasmine Paolini also won a massive tournament in Dubai to move up to a career-high ranking of No.14.

Sebastian Baez won the Rio Open at the end of February and is currently No.5 in the live rankings that start on 1 January that is the measuring system to see where people stand for World Tour Final qualification. He’s got to get off the clay now, so we’ll see if that causes a bit of a speed bump, but it’s exciting to see some fresh names coming through.

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.

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