Tomas Berdych a.k.a. The Birdman - A Fan Site since 2004

Berdych still searching for his 'chosen one'

PARIS Tue Nov 4, 2014 9:28pm EST

(Reuters) - Ivan Lendl might be "way too busy" to be his mentor but Tomas Berdych has not given up the dream of jumping on the 'super coach' bandwagon.

If he needs any pointers on how to carve out a successful coaching relationship with a grand slam champion, the players' lounge at the 02 Arena is the place to be during the ATP World Tour Finals which start on Sunday.

Should Berdych decide to hang out in the area, he could find the place buzzing with the presence of no less than five 'super coaches'.

Three years after Andy Murray pulled off a coup by hooking up with eight-times grand slam champion Lendl, the super-coach seems to have become a 'must-have' accessory for many of the top players.

Eighties rivals Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg have become familiar sights in the locker rooms after they were lured back into the day-to-day grind of grand slam tennis by Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer respectively.

Goran Ivanisevic and Michael Chang will also be in London to oversee the progress of ATP Finals debutants Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori, while Murray's 'chosen one' is now Amelie Mauresmo.

Berdych's desire to draft in Lendl to his coaching set up was an obvious one -- with both hailing from the Czech Republic -- but the man who guided Murray to Olympic glory and two grand slam titles simply could not commit to a full-time job with the world number seven.

"We had a meeting when I got back from Shanghai. It didn't work out because Ivan decided he's not able to give the full amount of the weeks that he would like to give," Berdych told Reuters in an interview in the run up to the season finale.

"He is going to be busy with his activities and his stuff, so not with him."

Berdych has already drawn up a shortlist of champions he would like to work with but after the talks with Lendl failed to produce the desired effect, the 2010 Wimbledon runner-up is keeping tight lipped about his possible targets.

"I'm not going to say anything because that's not the way I want to deal with those people. He is going to be sitting at home reading an article that's about him. It needs to be done by a proper way," explained Berdych as he ran his fingers through strands of his dark hair which were sticking out from underneath his back-to-front baseball cap.


"I'm trying to bring a guy with a different experience... all those experiences that he can have from playing those big matches or prepare a player for those big matches.

"It is a person that can be a consultant or just on top of my current team who are doing a great job.

"It's not easy to just say I want to work with (a particular) past champion and it's going to work out. It also is about who that person is and... seeing if that's the right decision and if (the relationship) can work out.

"If you put 10 coaches together, all of them are going to have different things that they can see, they can adjust and that they can make better.

"I am looking to improve myself. One day I am going to (retire) and I want to say, 'That was quite a successful career and I've tried everything I possibly can'."

What he would like to achieve more than anything else is to improve his lopsided 11-46 losing record against the Big Three of Federer, Rafa Nadal and Djokovic.

It has been 10 years since he first burst into the spotlight by railroading Federer at the 2004 Athens Olympics but since then his wins over the tennis establishment have been few and far between.

So does Berdych feel lucky or unlucky to be playing in what he described as "the best era of our sport"?

"Well I would say unlucky and, on the other hand, I think sometimes it is a pleasure to be a part of that and to have had the chance to play the best guys like Roger and Rafa," said Berdych, who has been drawn with world number one Djokovic in Group A at the Finals.

"I don't think there will ever be another time when someone is going to achieve more (than them).

"But it's also been unlucky for me as it's much harder to fight for one of the slams and the higher rankings."

Despite the misfortune he has suffered with the timing of his career, Berdych said he still had plenty to look forward to despite turning 30 next year.

"Yes I still enjoy playing and the whole career is still very much developing year-by-year and I have to say it is very different from the first years to now, and I like it," he explained with a grin.

"There are certain stages that you have in your career that you have to go through and that's what I enjoy. That's why I always find some new motivation to go another year.

"For me it's more fun now because I am older, I am more experienced and I enjoy it even more."

The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals will be held at The O2 in London from Nov 9-16.