Jiri Lehecka: Roger Federer was my idol but I modeled my game after Tomas Berdych

Lehecka loved Federer but realized modeling his game after Berdych would probably work better for him.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Jiri Lehecka: Roger Federer was my idol but I modeled my game after Tomas Berdych

Jiri Lehecka, 21, revealed Roger Federer was his idol but noted that he modeled his game after Czech tennis legend Tomas Berdych. Lehecka, who made the Doha semifinal last week, is ranked at No 47 in the world and he is currently the top-ranked Czech male tennis player.

When Lehecka was 16, he was taken under the wing of Jaroslav Navratil, who guided Berdych to success. Now, Lehecka is working with Michal Navratil, the son of Jaroslav Navratil. At the start of the 2023 season, Lehecka made his first Grand Slam breakthrough as he reached his first Major quarterfinal at the Australian Open.

Lehecka: Federer was my idol but I modeled my game after Berdych

“When I was a little kid, Roger was the one who I was always looking up to. I always loved his game and his varied style. Then as I was getting older and I was getting a bit more into tennis and I was looking to the mirror as to what kind of player am I, then I was trying to focus my game and my style on Tomas Berdych.

When I was 16, my coach was Jaroslav Navratil, who is the father of Michal, who is my coach right now. He’s the guy who got Tomas into the top 10, and he was with him for a long time. Maybe if you can see some specific details in my game, which can look a bit similar to Tomas, forehand, you know, something like that, then it’s a job of Jaro who took me under his guidance when I was 16.

Tomas was the one who I was looking forward to and I was watching his matches in Davis Cup, everything. So I saw some similarities in both our games," Lehecka told Tennis Majors. Last week, Lehecka fell just short of making his first ATP final as he blew five-match points in the Doha semifinal against Andy Murray. This week, Lehecka suffered a three-set defeat against Alexander Zverev in the Dubai first round.

Jiri Lehecka Roger Federer Tomas Berdych
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