|Posted on January 3, 2012 at 5:50 AM|
Czech team start big 2012 at Hopman Cup
Monday, January 2, 2012
By Holly Johnsen
Tomas Berdych and Petra Kvitova came into the 24th Hyundai Hopman Cup seeded No. 1 and got off to a winning start against Bulgaria on Monday as both set their sights on Grand Slam victories in 2012.
With Kvitova ranked No. 2 in the world and Berdych No. 7, they are in prime position to have a stellar year as well, but before that just recording their first ever mixed doubles win might be nice.
Berdych is in his third Hyundai Hopman Cup at the Burswood Dome but is yet to win a mixed doubles match in Perth now in five attempts. He would like to see that change this week with the Czechs to next play the USA on Wednesday evening and Denmark on Friday.
“The one thing is to play well and the other is to win, only the score counts but as I said at the beginning our tactic is to win both of the singles. That’s the best thing and then we can just try and have fun in the mixed but it would be nice to have won at least one win,” Berdych said.
“We won the match in total (against Bulgaria) but it was not my best effort in the end of the mixed and a couple of points I should have done better in, but you know in the end we won and that’s important and we just have to be ready for the next one.
“I’m really enjoying the new role in the team that I’m not the leader which I was for many, many years even in the Davis Cup, even here. Now it’s a little bit more on Petra, she is the leader now but it’s going to be fine. We’re going to try to enjoy it.”
As for any thought of Berdych teaming with Kvitova in the mixed doubles at the London Olympics later this year, Berdych was quick to shoot that down making their pairing this week at the Hopman Cup all the more special.
"I think that is too far to go and as long as we both know that we can do really well on grass then our goal and I think our main focus is going to be our singles and then I don’t know if Petra is thinking about whether to play doubles or not," Berdych said.
"I had a really good success with Roddick in the doubles, we lost only once in Davis Cup when we played and so far my mixed record is not really well so there’s going to be a couple of things I’m going to need to put on the side and just decide but definitely there is not that much space to go for the three competitions in one week. That would be impossible."
Berdych made the final at Wimbledon in 2010 but had a better overall consistent year in 2011, and now he hopes to take that next step in a Grand Slam at some point during 2012.
“Grand Slams are another kind of goal, my last season was really solid, really good, I would say better than 2010, but I was missing some good results in the Grand Slams so that’s definitely the key to make the season even better,” he said.
“(Wimbledon) gives you the feeling that you are able to play well for those two weeks because it’s different than just single week tournaments.
“It is a long time to really stay in form and playing well, so I know that I can do that and that’s probably the most important thing.”
Meanwhile Berdych’s partner Petra Kvitova is just getting used to being asked the same question she has been asked all tournament, 'Why don’t you want to be world No. 1?'
The 21-year-old has won six WTA titles, including last year's Wimbledon, and the ITF World Champion and WTA Player of the Year award, but it is winning Grand Slams which are most rewarding for her.
“Sometimes it’s crazy with the same questions to answer but I know that for you it’s important to know it. But it doesn’t matter and I just want to play and have fun on court,” Kvitova said.
“I am focused on this. Caroline plays great and definitely she can win some Grand Slams, the women’s tennis is fairly open now so everyone can be high. We had four Grand Slams and four winners so it is not only about me but all of us.
“It’s really tough, I got a Grand Slam and I know the feeling when I won and it was unbelievable and it will be nice if it will be again.”
The Czech pair will go on to play USA’s Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Mardy Fish on Wednesday. Then in an unmissable match, the world No. 2 will come up against world No. 1 Denmark’s Wozniacki and her partner Frederik Nielsen on Friday.