July 11, 2024

Open Court


At 33, it feels like the end for Tomas Berdych

He’s nine months older than Rafael Nadal, and four years younger than Roger Federer.

But it kind of feels like this might be it for former No. 4 Tomas Berdych.

The 33-year-old Czech missed the second half of 2018 with a back issue. And he began 2019 as though he was eager to make up for lost time.

He reached the final in Doha to open the 2019 season, beating Kohlschreiber, Verdasco, Herbert and Cecchinato before losing a three-setter to Roberto Bautista Agut in the final.

Then he made the fourth round in Australia, beating top-20 players Edmund and Schwartzman before losing to Rafael Nadal. And he followed that up with a semifinal effort in Montpellier, France.

But after losing in the first round at Indian Wells, he was out again – and didn’t return until Wimbledon. It wasn’t only the back now, it also was the left hip.

At the All-England Club, he lost in three quick sets to Taylor Fritz.

Berdych looked fine in his practice sessions before Wimbledon. But he lost his first-round match in straight sets and now, he’s out for the summer.

Out of the summer hard courts

Berdych had entered Washington, Montreal and Cincinnati with his protected ranking of No. 57.

But now, he has withdrawn from all of them.

Berdych had also accepted a wild card into the Winston-Salem ATP Tour event, the week before the US Open. No word on the fate of that.

The Czech had always seemed to be the most durable of top players. He played 52 consecutive Grand Slam events, from the 2003 US Open until he missed the same event 13 years later,  in 2016. 

Between the 2005 edition of Indian Wells and the 2016 Italian Open – 113 Masters 1000 events in all – the Czech missed just … three.

He averaged 23 tournaments and 72 matches a season between 2005 and 2015. He’s also played over 200 doubles matches in his career and, for years, was a stalwart for the Czech Republic in Davis Cup.

Maybe all that mileage is catching up to him now. But after working so hard last year to get back in form to return, it must be discouraging to be forced to miss even more time.

If it is the end, it’s been a fine career.

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