A tribute to Thomas Berdych: a consistent staple on the ATP Tour


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A tribute to Thomas Berdych: a consistent staple on the ATP Tour

Thomas Berdych was a staple on the ATP Tour, with a beautiful game famous for its impressive consistency. The 34-year-old remained in the Top 10 for much of his career, and from 2010-2017, he made the quarterfinals and semifinals several times at each of the grand slams.

His best result was the 2010 Wimbledon final, where he faced Rafael Nadal, after having defeated Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the quarters and semis. Making the ATP Finals tournament for six consecutive years, the Czech player announced his retirement at this year’s event, with his career being celebrated at The 02 venue on Saturday.

“I don’t have any regrets. Even the bad things or negative experiences I went through were there for a reason. Without them, I wouldn’t be as good as I was,” Berdych said according to the ATP website.

“I was always trying to do the best I possibly can. This is something you create with your achievements and your behavior. I was ready for every single match and putting 100 percent into every time I stepped on the court”.

Known for his graceful hard court game, the Czech player achieved a career high ranking of No. 4 and maintained a steady Top 10 presence for seven straight years, 11 in total.

Among his 13 ATP titles is one Masters 1000, won in Paris, when the tournament was played on carpet, in 2005, at the age of 20. A testament to his longevity in the sport, his opponent was Ivan Ljubičić, who is now part of Federer’s coaching team.

Thomas Berdych lead the Czech tennis team to heartfelt back-to-back victories in two Davis Cup tournaments, 2012-2013.

Injury struggles hampered the 34-year-old’s momentum, beginning in 2017, with a debilitating back injury in 2018 that forced him to withdraw from Wimbledon that year and saw his ATP ranking slip out of the Top 50.

Berdych recovered to put in an impressive start to 2019, making the final in Doha and the fourth round at the Australian Open. Despite the progress, a couple of first round losses, most notably to a qualifier at the US Open, prompted Berdych to conclude that his body wouldn’t allow him to compete anymore.

“The feeling I went through in my last official match was one that told me I tried absolutely everything, but the end result is how it is,” Berdych said. “The level I was always chasing, the top results, being in the top positions [of the ATP Rankings]… My body doesn’t allow me to do so.

“I always look at situations very realistically. I was standing with my feet on my ground. When I made my decision with myself and [loved ones], I felt a big relief”. Currently, the Wimbledon finalist has no immediate plans other than to spend time with the family who supported his career for all those years.

“The plan is not to have any plans. The last 15 or 20 years were so hectic that I just need to breathe out easily,” Berdych said. “I need to have time for myself and my family, who gave me almost everything.

I didn’t have the proper time because the tennis career requires being very selfish and absolutely into the sport. And now I have the time. “Sport was my life from the time I was a kid until now and I wouldn’t change that, absolutely not.

But if it’s just going to be [my profession] or just as my hobby, I really don’t know. And I don’t want to know. I really just want to have every day as a clean slate”.

Thomas Berdych’s elegant presence will be missed in the sport.