After the final shutdown at the China Open in Beijing between Djokovic and Berdych we couldn’t wait longer to write this article. Today we study the first racket of Czech Republic, Tomas Berdych. We have already mentioned his name in a number of our news and reviews. Now it’s time we write a whole article about him as we did about Cilic. But while the Croatian has well deserved it by his merits, the situation with Tomas Berdych is different.
Tomas Berdych. Ideal athletic form
Berdych is, probably, the best athlete in men’s tour and one of the brightest talents in contemporary tennis. Think yourself. His physical data are perfect. 6 ft 5 in give him powerful serve and let the Czech stay mobile on court and move well along the baseline in contract to Isner and Karlovic, for example, who face great troubles moving on the baseline due to their height. Moreover, Tomas looks like a real warrior. He is a very strong guy with no excess gram of weight. His body is a perfect combination of power and endurance. We watch tennis days in and out and have seen him to be tired and exhausted only few times. Stamina is a cornerstone in tennis. And if coupled with power and height it gives extraordinary potential for brilliant achievements.
Tomas Berdych. Technique issues
We can name only two guys who are capable of competing with the Czech in athletism – Grott from Australia and Pospisil from Canada. Unfortunately, the both has some disadvantages in their techniques which prevent them from great achievements. Berdych has no such difficulties. He boasts of top-level techniques: perfect forehand and backhand shots, working serve and top-10 serve return. All these benefits allow Tomas to prevail over such powerful servers as Isner, Anderson and Janowicz. What is more, the Czech suffers no longer from injuries as it happens to Monfils, Tsonga, Nadal and Simon. Berdych always looks fresh and ready to fight. So you see that he has everything to become the world No. 1. On paper. But as usually it’s easier said than done. In real life he is miles away from the third line in rankings. Why so?
Tomas Berdych. No sporting heart
The answer is on the surface. Berdych simply lacks sporting mood. In our view, any player in top 100 is better than the Czech in this component. What about clownish Fognini, inconsistent Gulbis and moody Verdasco maybe your question. All of them have lost a great number of encounters because they were out of mood this particular day, because their opponents were a bit stronger and luckier. Berdych is different. He won’t lose to noname players. His consistency and professionalism will do their job. What we are talking about is combative mood, fighting anger if you wish. Gulbis, Fognini, Verdaso as well as any other tour’s player will fight up to the last ditch even if there is a much stronger player on the opposite side of the court. Any player, except Berdych.
Berdych performs well when he’s relaxed, when he knows that he’s in advantage. His diverse armoury of tennis weapons usually provides for him with such a confidence. But sometimes things go differently.
Real problems arise when the Czech plays under pressure. Berduch immediately loses all concentration and starts floating on court like a real boatman. Berdych holds negative head-to-head record against all top-10 players. Cilic is the only exception. But the Croatian has just jumped into elite. Just think it over again! World No.6 can’t beat his main contenders. Incredible!
Oddly enough, but the Czech is not weaker than all these stars, otherwise he wouldn’t occupy such a high ranking position. But when it comes to character, when every point is extremely valuable, Berdych gets out of play. He reminds us of Mesut Ozil (football fans will understand us). Need examples? Not far to seek. Let’s take major tournaments of this year. Defeat by Gulbis at Roland Garros, something indistinct against Cilic at Wimbledon, and again resounding smash by the eventual champion Cilic at the US Open and complete frustration from Djokovic at the Chine Open final. And this is only current year. These defeats would be easier to perceive if the Czech were out of form. But on all abovementioned events he looked very good, smashing around all his opponents in starting rounds. But as soon as there is equal contender opposing him, the Czech has no replies. In such moments he’s incapable of showing his average tennis! Everything is gone: consistency, serve return, first serve winners. And Tomas Berdych himslef starts looking like a lost boy with shaking hands. Percy boy Tomas…
Tomas Berdych. Future prospects
Nothing matters more than the fact that it’s very unlikely for Berdych to get rid of this disorder. Mental strength is very difficult to breed. Jimmies, shaking hands and lack of confidence are normal things, no one is insured agaisnt them and any champion would have to fight them on his route to the triumph. But it mostly typical of young junior players who has no rich experience of wins, are undercooked yet. But at the same time any self-respecting player has to ovrcome this stage to show his best under pressure. This is what marks a top sportsman: his ability to pull himself together and perform well here and now. Berdych can’t do this.
That’s why we believe that the Czech’s days in top 10 are numbered. And if years ago his class allows him to stay in top 10 even despite his mood and chracter, now the situation has changed drastically. Now there are hungry and fierceful Cilic, Nishikori, Raonic and Dimitrov on the horizon. Their mental force and ability to perform under pressure will prevail over Berdych’s class and potential. And it’s just a question of time for them to outdo Berdych in rankings. Tough it out, Tomas! Very soon your life in top 10 will come to its logical end. We’re so sorry you didn’t manage to fulfil your talent and potential gift. But it proves once again that loud victories can’t be achieved with no sporting heart and fighting tempo. And it’s not about Tomas Berdych…
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ATP Stuttgart QF preview and prediction: Tomas Berdych v Feliciano Lopez
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Lyon Open final preview and prediction: Tomas Berdych v Jo-Wilfred Tsonga
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