"He's a guy who is ranked 800 in the world": Darwin Blanch's Rafael Nadal thought process should be on ranking not respect says Andy Roddick

Thursday, 25 April 2024 at 12:58
16-year-old upstart Darwin Blanch will face Rafael Nadal on Thursday afternoon in the top tie at the Madrid Open as he aims to inflict what could be a final loss on the Spanish legend in one of his home tournaments. He has admitted to nerves beforehand. But Andy Roddick said that nerves at least based off respect should go out of the window.
He said that if he was Blanch's coach, he would tell him to think of Nadal as what he is which is 800 and below in the world and not as this all conquering clay king who commands respect as that is the first battle. Can he do the unthinkable.
"If I'm his [Darwin Blanch's] coach, I'm saying, 'Listen all the respect in the world. You can give credit to this guy, and also, he's not—I don't know that this is true on clay; time will tell—he's not a top 10 player in the world at this moment. Like he's a guy who is ranked 800 in the world,' and I would be feeding him [Blanch] this narrative even if I didn't believe it myself," he said on Served.
"If you get off to a hot start, he's been compromised; he's not serving full out yet. I would be saying all of these things for confidence. Now we still have to respect it, we still have to game plan, and we still have to do all these things. But I would be trying to find sources of optimism for this matchup," he added
"The kid is a lefty; he's 6'4"; he looks like a mini [Ben] Shelton. He's got a cool vibe, big serve, lefty, and played in Miami. You can tell that movement isn't going to be there for a little while when his feet start making sense because he's still growing. Like you can look at him, and he's obviously not Rafa when Rafa was 17, who looked like he could bench press dump trucks. He's not that guy yet, but this is cool. This is the type of thing like, how fortunate is he if Rafa has three tournaments left or four. If he doesn't have that many tournaments left to be able to say, 'I played Rafa.' So cool. I hope he enjoys it."

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