03-05-2013, 09:10 PM
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Re: ~~Interviews, articles of Tomas~~
Tomas Berdych: The Mental Game
BNP Paribas Open Special
by Robert Davis
© Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
Sports car nut Tomas Berdych has been a Top 10 regular for the past few years.
Through consistent play and improved mental conditioning, Tomas Berdych is stacking up match victories this year.
Tomas Berdych has big hands, big feet, long arms and even longer legs. His quadriceps are so powerful that they look like they were built to launch rockets. At six-feet, five-inches and a lean 200 pounds, the Czech is stock full of fast twitch muscle fibres. While some tennis players are built for power and others for speed, Berdych is that rare breed of beast that is built for both.
The tennis world was alerted to a precocious talent at the 2005 BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, where, on fast indoor courts, he marched through the draw chopping down five consecutive seeds and Top 20 players en route to his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title (d. Ljubicic). A couple of years later, he cracked the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. It wasn’t until he beat Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic en route to the 2010 Wimbledon final (l. to Nadal), that he became an ever present in the Top 10.
This year, he has reached back-to-back ATP World Tour finals at the Open 13 in Marseille (l. to Tsonga) and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (l. to Djokovic). He has won 14 of his 18 matches. At present, he is attempting to close the gap on the likes of Djokovic, Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal.
“I wish that this is going to be true. That’s what I’m trying to do,” says Berdych. “I’m working hard every day and trying to close that gap. Those guys are really ahead and the best thing is to play really solid to have chances to play them; right now that means in the semi-finals or final of a tournament. Once you have more matches with those four guys, you can improve yourself and you can learn from that experience. That’s the only way you can get closer to them or even become a part of them.”
For the tennis purist, watching Berdych warm up with his coach Tomas Krupa before a match is a pure delight. It would be about the same as a classical music lover getting to sit in while an orchestra rehearses a Mozart sonata. The strokes of Berdych bear no technical weaknesses. His contact zone is long by today’s standards and when the racquet meets the ball it’s so clean, so perfect, that you might think the term ‘sweet spot’ was named after him.
You would not say that he hits a heavy ball or a flat ball. But watching his ball blow past an approaching opponent, you would just say that Berdych hits it hard off his forehand and double-handed backhand wings. Until now, Miloslav Mecir had the sweetest backhand from the land formerly known as Czechoslovakia, but Berdych’s is a beauty. When he steps up and leans into a crosscourt ball, taking it on the rise, while changing the direction down the line, you know you have just seen a work of art.
When you measure Berdych stroke for stroke against any other player, you wonder how he ever loses a point, much less a match. But Berdych plays on a knife’s edge and his is the ultimate high-risk, high-reward game. On his best day when the ball is clearly visible and there is little wind or humidity to slow its flight, Berdych can shut you down before you even finish the warm-up. But tennis matches can be long, arduous affairs where conditions are more often than not less than perfect. Witness his 2010 Wimbledon final versus Nadal or last year’s US Open semi-final loss to Murray. Both matches were played in windy conditions and Berdych was far from his best.
Berdych realised where he had to strengthen the weak link in his game.
“What I’ve been really trying to work on is mental strength and preparation for every single match,” admits Berdych. “They are very important aspects of today’s game. Especially now. Everybody can play a good forehand and backhand. There is no difference at all. It’s really just about the small details and one of them is the mental preparation, which I’ve been trying to improve. I believe I did so, but you can improve these aspects a lot. I hope this is something that can take me higher.
“There’s a lot you can say about that really. It’s concentration in the match. It’s also what you do around: how you deal with the situations on court and off court. It’s not only about once you step on the court. It’s been the work of my team. Part of it has definitely been my tennis coach. He can help me with that as well. I’ve also been working with one guy, not a sports psychologist as such, but a mental coach, which is a little bit different than a psychologist. It works, quite well. I’ve been working with him for two or three years.”
Ivan Lendl, Miloslav Mecir, Jan Kodes, Petr Korda, Jiri Novak and Radek Stepanek are just a few stars of the men’s game who have represented the Czech Republic, famed for brewing beer and producing sports stars. Berdych is not arrogant or disrespectful to Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, or past legends but he just does not do the idol thing. “Actually, never. I never had any tennis idol,” says Berdych. “I would never be just for one name or following a player like crazy, wanting to look like him or play like him or anything like that. I always wanted to be myself. Hopefully it works well. And I try to keep it that.”
Inside the locker room Berdych is friendly, easy going and gets along well with his fellow players. But in the press he has often been mislabeled as surly or boring with his single syllable answers. He certainly does not possess Federer’s velvet touch with the press. Nor does he try too. By nature, Berdych is a bit reserved. Not exactly hiding behind any old Iron Curtain, but definitely not ready to go on Oprah Winfrey’s show either.
Berdych does not give out too much information, but with age he is showing signs of softening up some. Like when DEUCE asked him if he is a better player today than when he made the final of Wimbledon.
“Yes, of course,” says Berdych. “I’ve been through many experiences and one of them was to make that final. I know that if I were to reach another Grand Slam final, I would be in a different position. I would know more about it. It’s been a few years, there have been many new experiences, and yes, I’m definitely a better player than in 2010.”
There are no quick fixes at the top of the ATP World Tour. Improvements can and often do take the better part of a season. Or even two years. In the past, Berdych was labeled as a dangerous talent who could play big at times. Now with his improved mental conditioning and solid performances at the important times you would have to say that he is in perfect position to play and stay in the big time.
05-26-2014, 04:00 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Re: ~~Interviews, articles of Tomas~~
The Last Time... With Tomas Berdych
by Kate Flory
World No. 6 Tomas Berdych is a winner of nine ATP World Tour titles and was runner-up at Wimbledon in 2010 (l. to Nadal). The Czech ended a 16-month title drought in February this year with victory in Rotterdam (d. Cilic) and opened his bid for his first Grand Slam championship at Roland Garros on Sunday. Afterwards, Berdych told ATPWorldTour.com the Last Time…
I cooked for myself or others?
It was before I came here actually. I was cooking at home. My girlfriend cooks well, but she was like, 'You should make dinner once too'. So I said, 'Yeah, sure, why not?'. So I cooked, and I think it was good. She said it was good and I ate it as well and it tasted good. So I can vouch for it. I made salmon with sesame seeds.
I did my own laundry?
Again, it was at home. My girlfriend and I split that. Either she does it all, or I do it all. It was a couple of days ago before I left for Paris.
I shared a hotel room with another player?
Ooooh, that was a really, really long time ago. I would say maybe back to the days of starting my career, playing Futures, 10 or 12 years ago. It was with the son of my former coach. He was playing as well and we were travelling to Futures tournaments together. His name was Navratil. I think he was around No. 200 or No. 300.
I lost something important?
I'm pretty good with that, probably until now! Hopefully it will stay that way. I didn't lose my phone, but once we were on a walking tour in the mountains and it started to rain so badly. I had no place on myself to hide my phone. I had it in my backpack and it was raining so hard that there was a pool of water at the bottom of my backpack. When I took it out it was just dead, flooded. That was two or three years ago.
I asked someone for their autograph?
I don't know if I ever did... I have a few jerseys and presents from other sports. So I ask for the jersey and it comes with a signature. I haven't personally asked someone for a signature. I'm not a signature collector, not even when I was a child.
I strung my own racquet?
I was really a kid, probably 14 or 15 years old. My father was doing it at that time for me and I was always watching him. I said, 'Dad, just teach me, I want to know how'. So I knew how to do it and I did it once, so I can say I've done it. But now if you gave me the machine and the racquet I would have no clue how to do it again!
05-31-2014, 03:53 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Re: ~~Interviews, articles of Tomas~~
Translated from French to English by Google Translate (so it won't be 100% perfect):
Sport & Style Interview:
Bérénice Marmonier , May 30, 2014
"I like to feel different on the courts"
Out in the first round at Roland Garros last year, Tomas Berdych, World No. 6 , has bigger ambitions this year. We met a few days before the tournament and he told us about fashion and of course Roland Garros .
After reporting on the courts of the Australian Open with a blue and white striped T -shirt, Czech Tomas Berdych is renewed at Roland Garros with a flowery shirt . A bold look that makes the buzz on social networks since Sunday. The world number six meeting today in the third round the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut .
You land at Roland Garros with a new jersey very " floral ". Why this look?
The idea was to bring a little fashion on the courts of Roland Garros. When H & M ( his supplier since January 2013 - ed) was introduced to me , I was immediately excited. Was then reworked some details on the design and size to reach this final version. I wear it for the first time at Roland Garros and I will keep all summer. I think it 's nice to have this kind of T -shirt this time of year.
Like you feel different on short ?
Yes, that's quite right . In tennis, all players are sponsored by sports brands . So , through this partnership , I differs from other tennis players . This is a very good combination between fashion and sport. I love it !
How would you define your style?
It depends on the occasion . Even though I'm usually in shorts and sneakers , this happens to me regularly out in suit and tie . In general, I like to wear simple clothes and I add one or two pieces a little more original . I love fashion and I am interested in new trends.
Your wife , Ester Satarova is supermodel . You are therefore obliged to you a little interest in fashion , right?
Yes, she made me discover the world of fashion , which is quite far from my tennis life . But you can find some similarities between our two worlds ... For example, we travel all the time. And what's funny is that when she was young , 6 to 13 years, she played tennis (laughs). So she understands what I am . It is also present at Roland Garros to encourage me .
What are the most stylish tennis players on the courts ?
Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic . They have their own style , they take care of them. They are very nice girls. Even off the court , they are always beautiful and well dressed .
How do you feel at the start of Roland Garros ?
Very good! I had a good preparation. I was very eager to come to Paris . This is a very special place for me . It is at Bercy in 2005 , I won my first title . And I made my first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros in 2010. I have many good memories in this city . And Paris is beautiful!
You are out in the 1st round last year against Gaël Monfils , what is your goal this year ?
Yes, it's true (laughs). It was a very difficult match . Gael is a great player . It is always difficult to predict a goal early in the tournament. You have to be at his best in every game and take each game one by one. This is a very long tournament.
Do you think Nadal can still win Roland Garros this year?
It is always the big question. He won so many times , this is definitely the favorite . But others will try to beat it.
What music do you listen to before a game ?
Just before the game, I try to stay calm and silent, without music. But when I go to the courts in the morning , I like to listen to some rock , especially the American group Foo Fighters.
What do you do when you're in Paris ?
First I must find the time (smile). When I 'm here, I 'm very busy between games . I take Paris before and after the tournament. I love to make me place Vendôme , stroll , relax at the hotel , go to the movies ...
GQ Magazine France
JÉRÉMY PATRELLE, 30 May 2014
Tomas Berdych: "I LOVE BEING STYLISH ON COURT"
GQ took a book signing at his sponsor H & M to question Tomas Berdych Roland Garros, his opponents and his style.
What is your first memory of Roland as a spectator ?
It is difficult to say which is my first real memory ... But the image that remains in my mind is the final between Agassi and Medvedev in 1999 I watched on television. I was then 13 years. It was a historic moment for Agassi to win Roland Garros.
What is your first memory of Roland as a player ?
In 2004 or 2005 (2004 actually , ed), I played my first game I think but I have no recollection ! (He was leaning against the Thai Paradorn Srichaphan , then seeded 13 , in four sets , ed.) But since I had many good memories in Paris.
What would you like to see final this year?
My dream is to play against the defending champion Rafael Nadal so . Imagine entering the Philippe Chatrier court in Paris and beat " Rafa " in five sets ... It would be a total dream for me !
Exactly, you prefer the center court (Philippe Chatrier ) or Suzanne Lenglen court ?
I think the Philippe Chatrier is the only major short in the world where I have not won a match ! I did certainly not often played , but I still lost , including twice against Federer, Monfils and against last year. However, I have played and won a lot of games on Lenglen . If I could choose , I play there!
Polo T -Shirt or to play?
I like to alternate the two during the year. But if I had to pick one it would be the T -shirt, but that's just because you ask to choose!
That this year, drawn by your sponsor H & M is a round neck with buttons and especially very floral motifs ...
I like my outfits are well adjusted, and quite stylish . Tennis is a sport and fashion have joined H & M in 2013, is ready to wear a draw original things fashion brand . For flowers , they offered me so a little shy. They were afraid that I do not like ! But I was immediately convinced. It's very different from what happens on the court today. 99% outfits are classic, with the same colors without much grounds . And with connotations sport. Here, we are more in fashion.
Cap in Agassi, Roddick, Hewitt or headband Borg , Nadal and Federer ?
Always cap. I play with since I was a child. Many times I said : "You should change , play free, you would better people ." But I can not do it , it's part of me. Moreover, once at Roland Garros in 2008 , I tried to play without a cap , but it had not gone well so I recovered quickly ! In contrast , no band !
What is the most quiet and comfortable inside Roland place?
In the locker room . If it is during the day , there is little space, but there is a bed where you can be quiet for 30 minutes.
What is the biggest flaw of the French tournament?
I always try to find positive things for all ! But if I have to " criticize " , I 'd say it's a combination of bad weather and the lack of space. When it rains , people have little place to protect themselves, and be quiet.
What is the best place to eat in Roland ?
Last year , at the Bercy tournament , we found a restaurant that is very popular. The owner told me that Rafa came every year, and that face in another restaurant, Novak Djokovic came often . There was a little competition between the two ! If I remember correctly , it is in a small street from the Avenue Montaigne. This is Japanese food , I love it ! Before I looked right and left. There, I finally found my place! (This is surely the Hanawa restaurant located at 26 Bayard Street , in the 8th arrondissement of Paris )
What is the best place to stay for Roland ?
I often change place . This year I am at the Park Hyatt Vendome. A very beautiful place ! Both quiet and full of things to do around . Tsonga goes there every year ? I should have asked him before ! My first nights are very good anyway!
What do you think is the most stylish player , met or not?
Roger ( Federer , ed.) It is very classy whatever the occasion : on the court, in the evenings ... Always well dressed, well adjusted .
What is the most brutal player ?
Milos Raonic . It serves extremely well and very strong!
And who is the funniest of the circuit ?
Fabio Fognini . Definitely !
What is the opponent the most " boring " you had to play ?
Ivo Karlovic . It is a strange player , unique . It has an incredible service, it gives you no rhythm. Even if you play well , you lose. It's very frustrating .
A prognosis for the World Cup soccer ?
Brazil - Spain . Winner Brazil .
Tomas Berdych (CZE)[#5], Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)[#9], Fabio Fognini (ITA)[#15], Vasek Pospisil (CAN)[#33], Dominic Thiem (AUT)[#57], Ben Mitchell (AUS)[#260] & Alexander Zverev (GER)[#285].
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