|Posted on December 27, 2010 at 5:42 PM|
TENNIS.COM - By Richard Pagliaro - Monday, December 27, 2010
Starting on December 7—the 25th day left in 2010—TENNIS.com will countdown from the year-end No. 25 on both tours with "The Last Word," a look back at the year that was and a look ahead at the season to come. Here's who we've looked at so far.
Best of 2010
Berdych blasted Roger Federer’s streak of seven consecutive Wimbledon finals apart with a quarterfinal conquest, then blew away Novak Djokovic in the semis. He became the first Czech to reach the Wimbledon men’s final since Ivan Lendl in 1987.
Worst of 2010
The 6-foot-5 hockey fan owns a sledgehammer serve and slap-shot forehand, but has long been regarded as an ultra-talented underachiever skating on emotional thin ice. He smashed that stereotype by reaching the French Open semis and Wimbledon final, but Berdych didn’t back up those results afterward. He slumped to a 9-14 record post-Wimbledon, failing to score back-to-back wins in his final nine tournaments.
Year in Review
It was a schizophrenic season for the 25-year-old, who contested his first Grand Slam semi and final, saved a match point to beat Roger Federer in Miami, qualified for his first season-ending championships and concluded the season with a career-high rank of No. 6. But the euphoria was tempered as Berdych was 0-2 in finals—his last title came in May 2009—and he staggered to the finish line, a non-factor in his final 11 tournaments. Berdych’s strong first half undeniably lost some luster by the end of the season.
See for Yourself
Wielding his powerful inside-out forehand, Berdych saved a break point when serving for the match and continued to fire away in ending Federer’s Wimbledon reign:
The Last Word
The biggest challenges Big Berd faces going forward are playing with poise under pressure and defining himself as a competitor. Is he capable of controlling play against any opponent with his fierce first serve and ferocious ground strokes, or is he an incredible talent who lacks the grit, guts and competitive backbone to break through and win a major -- Lendl himself faced similar questions before winning the 1984 French Open at age 24 -- he lost his first four major finals. The encouraging news for Berdych is he finished fifth on tour in service games won (87 percent). If he can continue to hold serve at that rate, he will be in most matches, but he must become a more convincing closer: Berdych was 12-12 in decisive set in 2010.