World number six Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic during a press conference at the Khalifa Tennis Complex in Doha
QATAR EXXONMOBIL OPEN
January 4, 2016
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Happy New Year. How do you feel about the new season, and how did your offseason go and your preparation?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Yeah, thank you very much for the wish, first of all. Same to you. Happy New Year to everyone.
Well, I have to say that my offseason was pretty well. I mean, even though I managed to squeeze few days for the IPTL and also managed to have some break after the season, I still get a very good and solid portion of the days where I could have a good preparation training, fitness, tennis, and everything together. My body stays strong, no issues, no injuries at all, which is always very important.
Yeah, came here with quite a time, you know, just to have time playing outside also after being a few weeks indoors. It's a good time to use that.
Yeah, so until now, everything went pretty well, as I planned, as I scheduled. The only thing that is missing is just start to play matches.
Q. Sergiy Stakhovsky, kind of a tough round for the first match of the year. Talk a little bit about him.
TOMAS BERDYCH: Yeah, played him couple of times, especially last year. It was a period of the year that we played almost like the weeks back to back and had couple of matches.
Yeah, I mean, it's a very tough guy, especially the way he likes to play. You know, he likes to change up the game a lot, playing a lot of variations. And, you know, these days he's getting, you know, not really a common player like that, but again, I mean, it's the first match of the year, so I'm just gonna try to mainly focus on my stuff, my tennis, and trying to be very focused from the first point till the last.
Yeah, just to go there and have a good match.
Q. Can you talk to us about your main goals for the season and if you can also talk about the Olympics if you plans to play other than singles?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Yeah, this season is going to be really packed, especially, like you said, it's the Olympics. For me there is one more thing, that I have to play the first round of the Davis Cup to get my qualification for the Olympics.
Yeah, it's gonna be a little bit different than the last year. I think last year I just tried to use all the time for myself and just for my direction of the career. But this year I will have to look also on Davis Cup, and representing the country was always on the high priority of my goals and achievements, so I'm going to definitely include that.
From the rest of it, I mean, again, I'm expecting long, tough season, you know, first of all, staying healthy and that's gonna be the main thing. Then you are able to play the whole season, and then you are able to compete with all the guys and being competitive enough that, you know, you are strong and fit.
I mean, of course, it's been a while since I put myself into the top 10 and holding that place. There will be new, younger guys coming up trying to steal that position. So that's gonna be a good, like a baseline to keep and, you know, try to move forward from that, it would be awesome.
Last year I managed to get on the fourth spot in the world, but, you know, finished the year in the sixth place. It would be great to change that number in the end of the season.
Yeah, well, Olympics, it's quite in advance to think about it, but actually it's once in four years, and, well, I'm definitely going to play singles. I'm going to think, and if everything goes well and we going to get in Radek, I would like to give a shot with that. You know, it's a competition that you have the easiest way to get a medal because you play the least amount of the matches.
So, you know, I will see how the season is gonna go, how, you know, how many matches till then I'm going to accumulate and play. Then if everything goes well, I'm feeling strong and fit, I'm going to try to play all three.
Q. Novak had a runaway season this year. When you're coming into this year, is he the one that all the players are chasing, you in particular, or is it still the top 4, do you look at them as the four big hurdles or is it just Novak now?
TOMAS BERDYCH: No, I think every opponent and every player stands in their position, and really, no matter what number is in front of your name, it's just your opponent for the day and you just have to be focused on that one. And once you pass him, the same thing again.
I mean, if you're gonna be looking too far ahead, you know, you might lose some things which are right around you. So I have been used to do that, you know, all my career, and I think it works pretty well till now, so, you know, let's see.
I'm just gonna try to stick with that, try to work on my things and just keep going, you know, working hard and hoping that one day I can move myself and just get higher in the ranking.
Q. I have seen a tweet of yours after training that you were pretty tired and you were saying that your coach is very demanding with your training. What does he bring? What has he brought this past year for you? How does he make you try to raise your level?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Yes, you're right. This was definitely one of those from my offseason this year, and I think it was very good one. I think I have been able to raise my fitness level and working on that direction and that aspect of the game, because I think it's becoming more and more important in the men's tennis. Especially with my height and also I would say weight it's something that, you know, I need to really keep working and keep being strong, and, you know, that's I think the direction where these days tennis is going right now.
I mean, the rallies are getting longer. Matches are much more difficult, much more demanding. That was one of the big aspects that I have been working on and also the few things that they are, I would say, tactically and part of the games that I'm going to try to use on the court, as well.
Well, I don't really feel like to share all of them with you. I just feel like something is good to keep for the team and for what you want to bring for the players. But as I said at the beginning, it was really good offseason. I spent the time and had very long days of practice, and that's it. That's the best possible thing that you can say after the offseason and that I have done all the work that I had scheduled.
Q. I know it's not your first time here, but it seems a bit colder and windier than usual. How important do you think the conditions are going to be a factor in the matches, especially that they are usually late?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Yeah, that's true, not the first time here. But all I remember so far was nice, warm days. This year is a bit different, but the other hand I spend already a week here, so I hope I'm going to be able to use that just to be more used for the conditions.
But, no, it's all about how you gonna prepare for that day and just to see and adjust accordingly to that. You can have days where it's extremely hot, the days where it's not really that hot, it's much cooler and much more windier and stuff like that. You just have to deal with these things.
But I still think this is pretty good conditions to start the year. I know really of much worse than this.
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