Among the four top-20 players at this year’s Aircel ATP Chennai Open, only Marin Cilic is taller than the towering six-foot five-inch figure of Tomas Berdych. In terms of pedigree, however, the Czech towers above them all.
With a Wimbledon runner-up title and sixth place in the ATP rankings to his credit, Berdych has the potential to set the cash registers ringing at the Chennai Open.
After arriving in the city late on Tuesday night, the 27-year-old spoke to the media on a variety of issues on Wednesday.
Preparation for the Chennai Open: I had a good off-season and practised well. I have done everything as planned. I even had enough rest after playing in the Davis Cup final and I’m strong again.
Next-round opponent Somdev Devvarman: I have never played against Somdev, so it will take me some time before I adjust to his style. Moreover, he’s playing at home and I’m starting from zero. So, I will focus on my game.
Goals for 2013: Last season was really good for me and I have many goals for this season. First of all, I would like to stay injury-free for as long as possible. Also, my target is to do better in Grand Slam tournaments.
Players ahead of him in the ATP rankings: It is tough to move ahead in the standings as the top four players are really good. Even David Ferrer, who is closest to me (at number five), had a great last season and won seven ATP titles.
No Grand Slam win: There are many factors that come into play over the two weeks of a Grand Slam tournament. Mental preparation is as important as experience in the semifinals and finals.
Sometimes, it just comes down to luck. Like last year in the US Open semifinal against Murray, I was blown away due to the windy conditions.
On the Davis Cup win: It was a feeling I had never experienced before and it certainly gives me the confidence to do well in the future. But I still have to go out and play good tennis because the opponent would not care if I have won the Davis Cup or not.
Shortening the season: It’s tough to take a view on this. Lower-ranked players would obviously like to play more tournaments but we would like to have breaks and a longer off-season.
The players’ body is united in the negotiations with the ATP and we need to find a good compromise.
Favourite surface: I have won tournaments on all surfaces. I have reached the Wimbledon final and semifinals at the French and US Open. So, I don’t have a preference for any particular surface.