Dubai: You can see how much playing for his country means to Czech superstar Tomas Berdych. The man spent a total of 13 hours on court as the Czech Republic beat the Swiss in Geneva last week, winning his two singles matches in six hours and in between won the longest match in Davis Cup history after an epic seven-hour struggle. That he had to pull out of his defence of the Montpellier Open this week with a wrist injury is quite understandable given the amount of battering his wrists must have taken.
But the 2010 Wimbledon finalist will be back in Dubai later this month as the third seed behind Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, as he bids to be the first man from the Czech Republic to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship title since Karel Novacek won the inaugural one in 1993. And he tells XPRESS in an exclusive interview what it means to him to be able to do that at the men’s event which starts from February 25.
“It is a great tournament with such a strong field every year, so it would mean so much to me if I managed to win the title. I played well the last couple of years, not so well the first few times. Now I would like to try and do my best result so far in Dubai and fight for the trophy,” he said.
It’s easy to see why winning the Davis Cup last year ranks as the highlight of his career so far, especially going by his almost superhuman efforts against the Swiss.
“Yes, it is the best and most memorable moment in my career so far, I really like to come back to my memories of that weekend,” he said.
Berdych is one of the few active players to have made the quarter-finals at each Grand Slam and he believes he could have done more in his match against Djokovic at the quarter-finals of the Australian Open last month
“Well…it was a solid start for me but I would like to go further! It was not one of my best matches against him, he is the “worst” player for me to face (he is just too good). But I could have done a better performance that day,” he said.
So, what would it take to win a Grand Slam in the era of Djokovic, Federer, Murray and Nadal?
“If only I knew what it takes, I would’ve done it already. But especially with these guys it is so difficult to break through, you have to wait for your chance to make it happen,” he said.
Looking ahead to the rest of the year, the world No. 6 said: “I would like to keep my position in the ATP rankings, that is the starting block and then I would like to improve it and really aim for a big result at Grand Slam tournaments. Of course it is very important to stay injury free.”
Besides reaching the final at Wimbledon, Berdych has also reached the semi-finals at the French and US Opens
He also has eight ATP World Tour titles including one Masters 1000 title
He has won a title on every surface