Dubai: World number six Tomas Berdych feels he is privileged to play alongside the current crop of tennis stalwarts.
The 28-year-old Czech, who was a vital asset for the Czech Republic in successfully defending their Davis Cup crown last year, has been forced to remain in the shadows of the other greats such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray for a major part of his career.
Though Berdych was the only player in the top-10 who finished without a title during the season, the Czech Republic’s No.1 player maintained a consistent form that saw him reach quarter-finals or better in 15 of the 23 tournaments he featured in during 2013.
His career-best ranking came in the second half of August last year when he climbed up to No.5.
And though Berdych ended up on the losing side in all three singles finals – Marseille, Dubai and Bangkok – the jewel in the crown for him was the 3-2 Davis Cup win against Serbia.
He partnered Lukas Rosol to a marathon doubles victory over Marco Chiudinelli and Stanislas Wawrinka, which ended 24-22 in the fifth set, after a record seven hours and one minute on court.
But the affable Czech really does not consider it unlucky because the so-called ‘Big Four’ of men’s tennis garner all the attention. “No, I’m not unlucky. I would see it from the other way around. I get to see and face those guys and I think it’s really an honour to be part of that. I have had the opportunity to play all of them and I’ve beaten them all at least twice each,” Berdych pointed out.
“So I think it is part of the game, and it’s something that I can say that I have been part of this. I have been able to manage to be so far fifth in the world, and that’s such a tough competition with all those guys,” he added.
Berdych’s record in the four Grand Slams has been good considering the dominance of the top four players in recent years. He has reached semi-finals of all four majors and his most notable achievement was reaching the final of the 2010 Wimbledon while causing consecutive upsets by defeating top seed and six-time champion Federer in the quarter-finals, Djokovic in the last four and then went down in the final in straight sets to Nadal.
“I’m still playing and I hope that one day it still could be a reality to win a Grand Slam, and then I think it’s going to be worth even more,” Berdych said.