|Posted on May 16, 2017 at 9:45 PM|
Berdych Celebrates 600th Match Win In Rome
Berdych is the sixth active player on the ATP World Tour - and the 25th player overall in the Open Era - to join the 600 Match Wins Club.
May 16, 2017 - James Buddell, Chief Writer
It may have been 15 years since his first tour-level match win, yet the smile remains the same. Tomas Berdych, ear-marked for the top from a young age, continues to strive for his goals as one of the cleanest hitters – and dedicated stars – on the ATP World Tour.
Today at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, a couple of hours after David Ferrer hit the 700 match wins milestone, Berdych celebrated his own career achievement: his 600th victory in a 6-3, 6-4 encounter against Carlos Berlocq on Court Pietrangeli, one of the most picturesque settings in world tennis.
In breaking a tie with his coach, former World No. 2 Goran Ivanisevic (599), the 31-year-old Berdych becomes the 25th player in ATP World Tour history to achieve one of the hallmarks of being an elite and consistent performer over several years.
The abiding memory is of a bushy-haired 20 year old, illuminated under a spotlight, celebrating the biggest title of his career at the Tennis Paris Masters. It's been 12 years since Berdych lifted his lone ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy in Paris, when he beat the likes of Guillermo Coria, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Gaston Gaudio, prior to a five-set win over Ivan Ljubicic in the final. Raw and powerful, Berdych was a leader of a new generation.
Yet completing a jigsaw puzzle is never easy. Berdych’s early promise was forged during the 2004 season that reaped one title in Palermo. He built a reputation of steady improvement, clean hitting and an ability to perform well on every surface. But how do you sustain success in one of the sport’s strongest eras? Ambition and drive play their part, but not without hard work.
"He’s always been a talented player with a lot of strength and power in his shots," Ferrer told ATPWorldTour.com. "He’s a player who’s been maturing every year with his tennis and, especially, mentally. He manages his timing very well and he’s always there to strike back. He’s a very regular and consistent player. I am sure he will achieve 700 victories."
Berdych was an ever-present member of the Top 10 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for six years, starting in 2010 when he reached the Wimbledon final (l. to Nadal) and made his debut at the ATP Finals. His 49 match wins against the Top 10, and two Davis Cup crowns for Czech Republic are also fine indicators of a player who doesn't pay much attention to reputations.
Under the guidance of Ivanisevic, the 2001 Wimbledon champion, Berdych's focus remains to crack his career-high of No. 5 (19 August 2013) and add to his haul of 13 ATP World Tour titles, with a major crown he so craves.
The barrage of power that first alerted the tennis world to his talent may be tempered, but a fitter and leaner Berdych now combines a robust mind with greater variety in his play and match strategy. It says a lot about his character that the ‘Birdman’ remains among the elite and a contender for the sport's biggest prizes.
Berdych is only the second Czech-born player in the Open Era (since April 1968) to record 600 match wins (also Ivan Lendl 1,068).