Tomas Berdych - Is It More Mental Than Movement Now? - MensTennisForums.com

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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Tomas Berdych - Is It More Mental Than Movement Now?

Biased or not I still believe Berdych has a chance of a Grand Slam, having made a final and semi-final before there's no reason for me not to believe.

But anyway the last few years people have said he doesn't move well enough to win a Grand Slam but when you look at his last few matches against the top players (especially the top 3) movement hasn't even been one of the main issues he's lost.

Firstly his match against Djokovic at last year's World Tour Finals, by far Djokovic's best match in the last few months of the year and still Berdych kept with Djokovic's high level and then in the end choked a match point with a horrible forehand and then played one of the worst tiebreaks he's ever played for sure.

Againt Nadal at the Australian Open this year the quality was immense for the whole match really, Nadal playing his best hardcourt match in a while too and yet Berdych managed to get a set and set point up for a 2 sets lead and really did play a clueless point with a bad volley to end. Then getting an early break in the third he mentally collapsed for God knows what and put Nadal right back into the match.

Then of course the Madrid final against Federer. Given the court of course movement wasn't going to play a huge part but I thought it didn't play a part at all. He obviously lost the final due to getting tight in big moments and pretty much choking it away.

So is it far to say that his mentality is stopping him from winning a grand slam more than anything else now? Before movement was an issue with him but the last 2 or so years I really think it's been more exaggerated than it is.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 02:39 PM
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Re: Tomas Berdych - Is It More Mental Than Movement Now?

Yesterday he did a great job defending his forehand side with huge cross-court hits on the run. I get the impression he's done some work on his movement and that yes, he is still prone to getting tight at critical points in a match.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 02:54 PM
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Re: Tomas Berdych - Is It More Mental Than Movement Now?

Yes, mentality plays a part. He has unfortunately made a habit of choking in big moments. But he's getting better, at least. Compare yesterday's final with the Miami final vs Roddick or, worst of all, the Wimbledon final vs Nadal. At least yesterday he seemed to have belief that he could win.

Also, court conditions. Berdych's game is suited for fast courts. He has adapted his game to compete on the current slow conditions, but as soon as he stepped up on the ultra fast Madrid courts the difference was very apparent.

He needs to be really, really redlining to hit through the top players on fast courts. The difference between past matches vs Del Potro and Madrid's semifinal was that in Madrid he was able to end points faster/draw a weak reply from Delpo. Even against Federer, he did that bar his choking. On slower courts, those two would have got more balls backs leading to Berdych being frustrated.

I do believe he can win a Slam, if he keeps improving and things go well for him (ie. he can redline his game for two weeks, have some lucky breaks...). The points where he must improve are:

-mentality (he seems to be making some strides)

-serve - he really won't ever win anything if he doesn't sort out his serve. The slowness of the courts makes it even more vital that he can make his serve a weapon against the top players.

-patterns of play - finding some successful patterns and being able to use them many times during a match. More serves + forehand combos, improve his volleys...
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 03:11 PM
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Re: Tomas Berdych - Is It More Mental Than Movement Now?

Berdych can absolutely win a slam. He seems to be putting it together, there's definitely progress. He should have beaten Federer but he shouldn't be too discouraged by the loss.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 03:21 PM
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Re: Tomas Berdych - Is It More Mental Than Movement Now?

Berdych is a good player, but Nadal, Fed, Nole too excellent.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 03:39 PM
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Re: Tomas Berdych - Is It More Mental Than Movement Now?

I agree. I don't think he will win a slam though, sorry Jas.

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 03:40 PM
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Re: Tomas Berdych - Is It More Mental Than Movement Now?

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Firstly his match against Djokovic at last year's World Tour Finals, by far Djokovic's best match in the last few months of the year and still Berdych kept with Djokovic's high level and then in the end choked a match point with a horrible forehand and then played one of the worst tiebreaks he's ever played for sure.
No way Djokovic was near his best. Anyway It's true that he choked. Almost even ag. Tipsy in same event. I agree that is mental, with his game style he doesn't need exceptional movement, but mental training and confidence.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Tomas Berdych - Is It More Mental Than Movement Now?

I didn't say best. But definitely one of the best matches Djokovic played after the US Open. No doubt the best he served and hit his forehand in the last few months for sure.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 05:07 PM
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Re: Tomas Berdych - Is It More Mental Than Movement Now?

I would like to see his form through the summer - if his consistency is high enough, he might do well in Wimbly and USO but can he win? - we saw how he choked twice in two sets yesterday. Again, like Softy said, his movement was great yesterday, some of the passes were top-notch. But he did kind of belittle himself and held Wodgie in awe after the match - which is kind of sad if he wants to win at the top. But he's immensely talented, so I would never count him out! Hope he keeps up his great season and not get depressed, and who knows, something good might be around the corner.

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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-14-2012, 05:09 PM
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Re: Tomas Berdych - Is It More Mental Than Movement Now?

Berdych is good enough to beat absolutely anyone when he's playing his best.

But yes, it's the mental issues that have plagued him. I'll never forget that AO QF(?) when he was up two sets on Fed and lost.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-15-2012, 02:12 AM
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Re: Tomas Berdych - Is It More Mental Than Movement Now?

Jason!

I agree with your assessment here. Berdych has shown that he has the game to trouble the Top 4. With the luck of a good draw, he's capable of surprising everyone. I wouldn't be surprised if he made it a few Slam semis this year or made another Slam final within the next few seasons. The only thing that may be against him is that he's a bit older than Nole, Rafa and Andy, so he can't afford to wait for them to wear down. He has to be a bit more proactive, but he can do it

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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-15-2012, 02:43 AM
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Re: Tomas Berdych - Is It More Mental Than Movement Now?

Mental + all slams being on slow courts.

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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-15-2012, 02:46 AM
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Re: Tomas Berdych - Is It More Mental Than Movement Now?

My all time favorite WTA player, Steffi Graf, once said: "Tennis is at least 50% mental".

I agree. Berdshit lacks the mentality to be a GS champ. He's a choking clown no matter the game he possesses.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-15-2012, 07:49 AM
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Re: Tomas Berdych - Is It More Mental Than Movement Now?

Match vs Federer he clutched it up serving out the first set and almost came back in the 2nd after going a break down early. He showed plenty of mental strength

Thing is his tennis is too risky. It's just his style. The harder you hit the ball the more delicate the timing becomes. If Berdych is just a little late/early to the ball he either sends it long or nets it. There is no margin when you hit the ball very hard. All the "bashers" have the same issue and that's not so much mental, more a drawback of their style.

Federer takes advantage of that by using variety in the pace of his shots, mixing slices, top spin and flatter shots making it very very hard for players like Berdych to time his shots right. Soderling has the same issue vs Federer. Delpo also has the same issue.

What Berdych needs for a slam is top notch serving so he can afford to botch 2-3 forehands in a game. He will have streaks of errors in a full match no matter what. Berdych issue is getting out of jail when his serve and forehand are off. In the Madrid final Berdych had 12-2 W/UE ratio in the first set. In the 2nd he had 1 winner and 8 forehand errors at one stage. That's how many Berdych matches are. His problem isn't winning when he plays like in the 1st, then he runs over anyone. His problem is surviving the bad streaks like in the 2nd.

top3 all have tools to survive bad streaks. Usually they rely on good defense and let the opponent do errors inviting them back in. I'm not saying Berdych should develop a defensive game he can use when his offensive game clicks but I'm saying he needs a better planB.

If his 1st serve and big forehand clicks he must have a rock solid plan where he takes 20-30km/h off the first serve just to get more of them in and also adds more spin to his forehand to reduce the errors and try to overpower the opponent rather than go for the lines. Berdych needs a lower risk game for tight situations. Then he can win a slam because it will buy him time to find his supermode again without quickly gifting away breaks and sets. Sometimes tennis is a lot about buying time. Berdych is horrible at buying time. If he's bad he can gift away a break in 90 seconds vs pretty much anyone. Notice how rare it is that a top3 quickly gifts away a full break. You have to work for it.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 05-15-2012, 07:58 AM
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Re: Tomas Berdych - Is It More Mental Than Movement Now?

It has always been mental, I really don't care how he moves. He was rising up the ranks 2005/2006, and then kind of just disappeared, reappeared for Wimbledon 2007, disappeared, tried to come in the picture several times against Federer, but then finally made the breakthrough in 2010 with that Federer win. Really, he has always had the game regardless of his movement. I mean look at Soderling. He isn't the greatest mover, but he has shown that mental strength is what is lacking with these big hitters. Yes, better movement helps, but Berdych doesn't want to be doing much moving anyways, he wants to be on the offensive which only can be successful when you are feeling it. Better movement should technically only win him a few extra points here and there, but nothing like a Djokovic, Nadal or Murray.

Yes, Berdych is prone to losing many cheap points because of his movement, but what tall big hitter isn't? Federer exploited the short angled backhand slice crosscourt to draw Berdych forward and make him bend low uncomfortably causing him to play a poor shot next, but Berdych honestly would place himself in many of those situations. What I think Berdych did really well in their Wimbledon 2010 was cutting off Federer's shots by coming into the net, which is something I don't think he did enough of at Madrid. When Federer slices that ball, it seems pretty predictable and Berdych was reading it very well at Wimbledon. However, in Madrid, he would let Federer play those shots and let them bounce causing Berdych to get into a bad position.

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