He’s done it before but can he do it again? For the fourth time in their careers Tomas Berdych and Roger Federer will meet at the Australian Open. Berdych has wins against Federer at Roland Garros and Wimbledon but has never beaten the 17 time Grand Slam champion down under and has won 1 of the last 12 sets of tennis played against each other.
Tomas Berdych is now at a stage in his career when it is now or never for the Czech number one who of course made the Wimbledon final back in 2011 but hasn’t been to a final of a major since. I don’t think it’s there in his game to get these wins against the best in a short period of time but winning this match will be very important for Berdych.
Federer missed the majority of last season and has only played a couple of matches this year so Berdych will want to show he can battle with one of the best especially someone who has been out of the game for the majority of a year!.
Can Berdych be effective and aggressive?
There is no doubt that Tomas can be aggressive but it’s about being effective with the aggression behind shots. We saw this the other day with Andrey Rublev, he was aggressive against Murray but it can be very tiring when you put that much in a match and get little reward and that is a big issues for Berdych and it can effect his game, he can sometimes take his foot off the pedal and slow it down which won’t work against Federer or go all out and end up hitting errors, if he is to do well in this one he has to defend well and make Federer move to his rhythm as once Roger gets in the groove there is no way back for Berdych who isn’t the greatest mover at the back of the court.
One thing he has to do is get good contact on the serve return to stand a chance.
Time and time again we see a short return into circled area on the court from Berdych after the Federer serve out wide and then it allows Roger to back into the backhand corner and throw the forehand up the line with Berdych’ defensive skills being good but not good enough to be effective against someone of Roger’s skill. Realistically he’d have to try and go deeper on the court to nullify the attack from Roger up the line or even introduce the slice a bit more but it can go against you against Roger as he is one of the best at dictating the tempo and can be patient or ruthless in rallies.
Do I think Berdych can win? Possibly… He’s at the stage in his career now where it’s now or never and beating Federer is something he has done before but if he were to do it again would it be a one-off win or a win that could propel him to achieve something he hasn’t achieved.