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

Berdych Brigade

Berdych Brigade

19 January, 2007 - They may not come from the Czech Republic, speak the Czech language or for that matter even know many Czech players. But they do know Czech No.1 Tomas Berdych. Meet the ‘Berdych Brigade’.


Group leader Tom Sutton (he's the one with the 'Y' on his chest), first came across the tall, hard-hitting Czech as a ball boy four years ago. He was that impressed by Berdych’s game and personality that he decided to start his own fan club. And slowly but surely over the past few years he has built up a group big enough to be heard where ever they go.


“I ‘ball-boyed’ Tomas in the qualifying four years ago and we’ve sort of been following his tennis around the world the last few years and every year at the Australian Open we try and get a few of us down here,” says Sutton, 19. “We’ve got more of us this year and we’re hoping he can go all the way.”


Of the 20 or so cheer squad members, zero are Czech. They all come from Melbourne and it’s not hard to tell once you hear their chants, which are otherwise typically heard at Australian cricket grounds or an Australian Davis Cup match.


“It started out as a bit of fun and started getting a bit serious as he got better and better. He’s actually a really good bloke. He signed sweatbands and signed a lot of hats for us. He came up and spoke to us after the match.”


Berdych is now into the third round of the Australian Open after two convincing wins and Sutton says his group has had something to do with it.


“It must help somewhat,” he claims. “He does have an enormous amount of talent but we reckon we just get him over the line in the tight matches. He’s lost like just ten games since we’ve been here so it’s pretty exciting. He got past the second round and we’re going to take some credit for that.”


Sutton reckons Berdych has what it takes to win his first Grand Slam in Melbourne. And the more he keeps winning the bigger the cheer squad becomes.


“We’ve got more and more people coming the further he gets in the tournament.”