TOMAS BERDYCH: TALENTED, DETERMINED AND REACHING FOR THE STARS
Sport 360° | November 15, 2012
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They say a true test of a champion is not measured by his success but by how he bounces back from a failure. If that is the case than Tomas Berdychs 2012 season is ever the indication that the Czech is a true champion.
Finding himself in a seemingly perpetual quest of an elusive top-five ranking and a maiden Grand Slam title, Berdych has spent the past three years improving on what already was a fiercely powerful game, but one that was lacking in mental strength.
You never knew when Berdych was going to implode in a match or when he would pull off an upset over Roger Federer.
The inconsistency and lack of belief meant he had only made one Major quarter-final during his first six years on tour. When he joined forces with coach Tomas Krupa at the beginning of the 2009 season, it took them a year before they saw an improvement in results on the Major stage.
When it happened, Berdych rocked the tennis world by handing Roger Federer his earliest Wimbledon defeat in eight years. He beat the Swiss in the quarter-finals at the All England Club in 2010, only weeks after he had made his first Grand Slam semi-final at Roland Garros.
But thats not the end of it. He followed his victory over Federer with one over Novak Djokovic to reach the Wimbledon final, which he ended up losing to an imperious Rafael Nadal.
Since then Berdych has been a permanent fixture in the worlds top-10, albeit still Slam-less and hovering outside the top five, currently occupying the No 6 spot.
The 27-year-old said his run at Wimbledon made him think his first Grand Slam title would eventually come in London, but after he bizarrely lost in the first round at Wimbledon this year to Ernests Gulbis in straight sets, and in the first round at the Olympics also held at SW19 to Steve Darcis, he now thinks that might not be the case after all.
In an Olympic year, where players got the privilege of stopping by Wimbledon twice in one summer, Berdych left empty-handed on both occasions to experience his worse stint on grass in eight years.
That time was pretty tough especially with those two losses, Berdych told Sport360°. It was one part of the season that I would like to put away and not think about anymore.
Sometimes good results come but you also have to be ready for the bad ones as well.
Berdych took a short break after his forgettable grass stint and on his return lost to John Isner in the final at Winston Salem before giving Roger Federer another quarter-final defeat at a Grand Slam this time at the US Open to make the semis for the first time in New York.
It was a momentous response to what was an alarming dip in form and Berdych says he did nothing special to get over those losses, which perhaps indicates he really has grown to become the kind of player who can soldier past any setback and keep pushing hard.
He adds: I didnt change many things. I just kept working hard as I did throughout the season and the results were coming, it was just two tough losses which just happened. So nothing major was going on. I was feeling that if Im going to keep doing it right, my game will get back on top and thankfully Im back playing well and happy for that.
Post-US Open, Berdychs laser focus continued as he won both his Davis Cup rubbers for the Czech Republic, reached the quarters in Tokyo, the semis in Shanghai and won the title in Stockholm to seal a spot in the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London.
At the O2 Arena, in his fifth tournament in as many weeks, he failed to make it out of a tough group that included Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. That brought an end to a very long ATP season, and with the Davis Cup final set for this weekend, his year isnt over yet.
But such is the life of a professional player and Berdych says he wouldnt have it any other way.
Tennis is an everyday experience, he explained. Some people can say that you can miss things in general life that other kids may have but I wouldnt change it.
My tennis life and career brought me through pretty much everything, even the times when you dont feel that good theres always the times when you start winning and you have success and youre playing well.
Thats the reason why youre doing it, the experience and the great memories which you can get from tennis are something you cant buy with any kind of money.
It stays in your mind and nobody can take it away from you.
Berdychs life does seem almost complete. Hes been continuously in the top 10 for over two straight years. His model girlfriend Ester Satorova is a knockout and judging from her Instagram pictures and comments, is absolutely in love with him.
He says he is happy with his coach and they share a special bond. What would be the cherry on top? Perhaps a home Davis Cup Final victory over Spain in Prague.
We have seen in the past how success in that competition spurred someone like Djokovic or Fernando Verdasco to greater heights. Is it finally going to be time for Tomas Berdych?
September 17, 1985 in Valasske Mezirici, Czech
Is a fan of
Ice hockey and follows Detroit Red Wings
On his coach Tomas Krupa
I think my game changed dramatically with Tomas Krupa. He brings new energy and new things to my game. I think not only from a tennis point of view also as a person we are much closer to one another and that also helps a lot.
Forehand and serve