Wimbledon Final | Sunday, July 4, 2010
By Stuart Bathgate (scotsman.com)
Tomas Berdych was second best by some way against Rafael Nadal, but after losing his first Wimbledon final the 24-year-old Czech was understandably far from despondent.
Rather than being the end of a dream, this could be the start of one for Berdychprovided he learns from his experiences. In particular, he needs to get used to playing at his best on major occasions, instead of playing nervously on big points. Yet he was able to smile broadly, and rightly so, as he looked back on a match in which Nadal had simply outperformed him.
"He was really good," Berdych said. "I mean, he was strong. I think the biggest difference between us was that when he got a chance, he just took it.
"He gave me one in the second set, one in the third set, and none of them I could make a break. That just shows how strong he is. I think it was just really about the small difference."
Asked about his game plan, Berdych explained that it was difficult to decide on specific tactics against Nadal for the simple reason that the Spaniard had no glaring weaknesses. "It's tough to say that I don't have any strategy, but I don't know if you can say (there are] weaker parts of him. It's not many, you know, and you just try play your best tennis.
"So it's really tough to find out some special tactic. So my strategy was just, you know, concentrate for myself, start well and, you know, waiting for some little chances. But, as I said before, he took them."
The 12th seed here, Berdych is back in the top ten, at a career-high No 8, in the new rankings published this morning. His next aim is to break into the top five, and, having beaten both world No 2 Roger Federer and No 3 Novak Djokovic here, he fancies his chances.
"That's what I'm trying to do, you know. Right now I'm still climbing higher and higher. I've just grown up a little bit, got older, got more experience. Can be more patient on court, but still can play my tennis, be aggressive, be more concentrated on court. That's it.
"Right now, I'm disappointed. It was my first final and it could go better than this. But still, it was a lot of experience for me, and I hope I can work with this experience like I did from the experience of reaching semi-finals in Paris, that when I get to the semis again, just go through. So if I can do it same with the final, that would be great."
Asked what he could learn from the defeat, Berdych could not list anything concrete, but again, that was understandable. A man with such an intimidating forehand and blistering serve may not have to learn anything much - other, perhaps, than how to stop being so nice.
"Right now it's really tough to say what's the right things I just learn from that match.
I mean, it's really (the] experience to just go on court, step there, to play my first final of Grand Slam. It's so emotional (an] experience that you have no chance to learn from any other matches.
"I think the only way I can improve is to play more of these matches. To play Rafa more. More matches against him - then I can feel that I can do it."