Former world No.4 Tomas Berdych is all set to hang up his racquet as he will officially announce his retirement at the ongoing ATP World Tour Finals 2019 on Saturday.
Tennis has had several legends who have had a Midas touch as everything they touched was converted into golden wins. While the ‘Big Three’ – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic rejoiced in the unceasing eminence, Tomas Berdych remained gratified being incapacious in their shadows over more than a decade and a half long career.
The 6ft 5inch is often touted as someone possessing the right blend of forehand, backhand and serving skills, which are required to win a Grand Slam title, Tomas Berdych never quite reached those heights even though he always gave his best on the court.
However, when a player comes to the end of their careers, the first question that the fans ponder is whether they got the most out of their careers. With Toma Berdych, the answer is a resounding yes as the Czech has registered many impressive results throughout his 17-year-old career.
The 34-year-old reached at least the semifinals of each of the four Grand Slams and also reaching the finals at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships. He also has the distinction of being one of the only three players on the ATP Tour with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Stan Wawrinka, to defeat all the Big Four – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in major events.
As we bid goodbye to Tomas Berdych, let’s take a moment to look back at the most memorable matches of his career.
5. Tomas Berdych vs Novak Djokovic – 2010 Wimbledon (Semifinals)
Novak Djokovic entered the match as a clear favorite, having won the previous two matches against Berdych. It was a common perception that Tomas Berdych will buckle under the pressure. However, the Czech came out on the top in his first semifinals at the Championships.
In the opening set, Berdych fired one the best forehands of his career as everything Djokovic was dropping, it was punished by Berdych as he served out the first set 6-3.
He broke again in the second set to take control over the match but squandered the lead to take the set to the tiebreaker. In the tiebreak, Berdych stormed ahead 6-2 but again he faltered as Djokovic got it back to 6-5. The match then caught fire as Djokovic had a set point at 7-6 but the Czech survived before Djokovic saved a fifth set point at 7-8, had another chance himself at 9-8 but lost it 11-9.
Tomas Berdych then cruised through the third set as the Serb lost all hopes after the second set tiebreaker, defeating him in straight sets 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 to reach his maiden Grand Slam finals.
4. Tomas Berdych vs Roger Federer – 2010 Wimbledon (Quarterfinals)
Tomas Berdych broke Roger Federer’s cloak of invincibility at The Championships, Wimbledon. The Czech played one of the best matches of his career as he played fearlessly, hit the ball harder, served better and put Federer on the backfoot making the Swiss maestro look imperfect.
The Czech kicked off with a perfect start as he broke Federer to win the opening set 6-4. However, the Basel native fought back hard to level the match after clinching the second set 3-6.
It looked like Federer will take the momentum from there on and wrap up the match in four sets. However, Berdych had other plans, the Czech did not resist himself from playing aggressive tennis and was all over Federer in the third and fourth set, closing the match 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.
3. Tomas Berdych vs Dominic Thiem – 2017 Wimbledon (Round of 16)
Tomas Berdych reached the last eight of the 2017 Wimbledon Championships after coming out of a brutal five-set tussle with Dominic Thiem in 2 hours and 52 minutes.
Thiem was a clear favorite to win the match as Berdych had only won one of his previous 10 matches against top 10 opposition. However, it was the former Wimbledon finalist who survived after the completion of 5 sets.
Tomas Berdych kicked off the match in a perfect manner, claiming the opening set 6-3 but fell short of Thiem in the second set tiebreaker 6-7(1-7). The Czech came back strongly in the third set which was a replication of the first set as Berdych won the set 6-3.
The match then went to the distance after Thiem claimed the fourth set 3-6. Berdych then stepped up in the final set to be all over the Austrian and winning the set 6-3 with a similar scoreline of the first and third set and closing the match with a 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory.
2. Tomas Berdych vs Rafael Nadal – 2015 Australian Open (Quarterfinals)
In one of the biggest upsets of the 2015 Australian Open, Tomas Berdych stunned the No.3 seed Rafael Nadal in straight sets in the quarterfinals to reach his second Australian Open semifinals for a second consecutive time.
Nadal was a clear favorite to win the match as Berdych came into the match having won just one of his last 17 sets against Rafael Nadal and had lost the last 17 matches against the Spaniard. However, It was an absolutely dominant performance by Berdych for much of the match.
The Czech was dominant from the beginning of the match, taking a 4-2 lead in the first before closing the set 6-2. In one of the rare occasions, Rafael Nadal got bageled by Berdych in the second set. The Mallorcan got on top in the third set but Tomas Berdych got the better of him winning the set in the tiebreaker and defeating Nadal 6-2, 6-0, 7-6(5).
1. Tomas Berdych vs Roger Federer – 2009 Australian Open (Round of 16)
Tomas Berdych was on the course of an almighty upset in the round of 16 of the 2009 Australian Open when he faced Roger Federer. However, the Swiss maestro edged the Czech in one of the best matches of the 2009 Australian Open.
Tomas Berdych played one of the best tennis of his career to win the opening two sets 6-4, 7-6(4). Federer had not won a match after being two sets down since 2005, but a record was in the making. Federer claimed the third and fourth sets 6-4, 6-4 to take the match to the distance. Berdych then lost concentration in the fifth as Federer went over him to close the set 6-2 and win the match 4-6, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
MBA tech grad.| Sports enthusiast| Writer by passion