|Posted on July 3, 2010 at 11:21 AM|
Men's singles finalist Tomas Berdych shakes hands with fellow Czech Jan Kodes, the 1973 champion,
at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, Saturday, July 3, 2010.
Former Czech Wimbledon Champion Jan Kodes talks with 2010 Finalist Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic on Day Twelve of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 3, 2010 in London, England.
Seeded 12th, Berdych will climb to a career-best ranking of at least eighth next week. He's the first Czech to reach the men's final since Ivan Lendl in 1987. The only Czech to win the men's title was Jan Kodes in 1973.
Tomas Berdych Enters Wimbledon Final
"Every little kid who hits a tennisball dreams of this moment"
Tomas Berdych, the man who conquered Roger Federer, continued his giant-killing act yesterday when he knocked out world No.2 Novak Djokovic for an encore.
He now has the chance to become the first Czech to win Wimbledon since Jan Kodes in 1973.
Kodes was helped by the strike which saw Wimbledon lose its star names that year while the game negotiated the bumpy ride to full- blown professionalism.
If all of that seems like the dim and distant past then Berdych has come right up to date and done it the hard way, rising to prominence from the most unpromising of starts.
There was a time, out in the All England Club's backyard of Court No.12, when Berdych was two sets to one down against Denis Istomin, of Uzbekistan, in the third round and seemingly destined to leave the competition by the back door.
But the man playing in his seventh Wimbledon has finally won through to a final for the first time in 28 appearances in Grand Slams and is now hammering at the door of opportunity.
Ivan Lendl was the last Czech to play in a men's singles final at Wimbledon but he failed in successive years in 1986 and 1987.
Berdych has given himself the chance to achieve a remarkable milestone in his career and silence the critics who said he didn't have the mental strength to do what he's done over the past two rounds of the competition.
Berdych has been an altogether different player in recent weeks.
The improvement, he says, is down to "many things".
"I mean, I feel, more confidence," he added. "I feel more stronger on the mental side, physically as well.
"You just need to go step by step and beat every player. Coming to every match, every opponent, with the same goals, same tactics: be concentrated, be patient, and try your best. So far, works pretty well."