20 questions: Tomas Berdych

Published by Barry Wood

Tomas Berdych will play in the Laver Cup this September. Photo: Getty Images

A force on the court, Tomas Berdych has scaled the heights of world tennis. Now on the comeback trail after a 2016 blighted by injury, the Czech star is starting to show signs of the form that carried him as high as world No.4. But while we all know plenty about Berdych the tennis player, how much do you know about the man off-court?

What is the greatest benefit of being famous?
The first thing that comes to my mind is the positive reactions. There’s the feeling that what you are doing for yourself makes you feel proud.

What quality do you most like in other people?
When they are honest.

What annoys or frustrates you the most?
So far my life is turning around the tennis and tennis balls, so I would say definitely it’s losing.

What do you most like in yourself?
I don’t like answering questions about myself personally, but I think I’m an honest guy.

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What do you dislike in yourself?
I would say that probably I should be more, I don’t know how to say it, but if somebody tried to tell me some tactics in tennis – I don’t say that I don’t trust it but it takes me a little more time to be convinced.

What has been your best moment on a tennis court?
It was beating Roger Federer in 2010 at Wimbledon, quarter-final.

What has been your worst moment on a tennis court?
I would say 2008, Davis Cup quarter-final. I played on Sunday with (against) (Nikolay) Davydenko. I never beat him until then, like zero-six, and we were losing the tie 2-1 and I was 4-1 up in the fifth set and then I twisted my ankle pretty badly and had to retire, so we lost the match and the tie. That was not good.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you have given yourself when your career started?
I believe that all the things that happen are for a purpose, so it’s really hard to regret something. You can definitely find something you can do better but there are many things you can do much worse. So I would leave it like it is.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Definitely it was my parents who basically brought me to the tennis and spent all the time with me. It’s hard to explain if it was one piece of advice but the time they gave me it was the best, otherwise I wouldn’t be famous, earning money and everything. When anybody asks me about my best investment I’m always saying it’s to myself, because if you look at the career it’s going quite well.

What would be your perfect day?
I would say Sunday in London and winning the Wimbledon final.

What talent (other than tennis) would you like to have?
I would like to be a rock star singer.

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What has been your most extravagant (most expensive or biggest) purchase?
I’m a big car fan so I would say it’s my last car that I bought, which is the McLaren MP4.

Who do you most admire?
Bono [from U2].

What is your greatest fear?
I’m scared of heights.

What is your most treasured possession?
It’s a piece of steel. It’s my tennis racquets, actually.

If you weren’t a tennis player what would you like to be?
A rock star.

Where is the best place you’ve ever been?
There are so many, but I really like New York.

Where would you most like to go that you haven’t been to yet?
I haven’t been to Africa for safari and I’d like to try that.

Who would you most like to have as a dinner guest – living or dead?
I would stick with Bono.

How would you like to be remembered?
By the things I achieved on the tennis court.

Barry Wood has reported on the game for over 35 years, attending his first Australian Open at Kooyong before going on to interview almost every top player as well as many others for numerous publications. This feature originally appeared in Australian Tennis Magazine.

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