DOHA, January 4, 2016
Third seed Tomas Berdych spoke to the media ahead of his opening match at the Qatar Exxon Mobil Open. The 30-year-old Czech will kick-off the season in Doha.
“I have to say that my offseason was pretty well. I mean, even though I managed to squeeze few days for the IPTL and also managed to have some break after the season, I still get a very good and solid portion of the days where I could have a good preparation training, fitness, tennis, and everything together. My body stays strong, no issues, no injuries at all, which is always very important,” he said and added that the only thing missing is playing matches.
Berdych will take on Sergiy Stakhovsky in the first round. Both players met six times on the tour with the world number six winning all of them. Three matches took place in 2015.
“I played him couple of times, especially last year. It was a period of the year that we played almost like the weeks back to back and had couple of matches,” he said.
“I mean, it’s a very tough guy, especially the way he likes to play. You know, he likes to change up the game a lot, playing a lot of variations. And, you know, these days he’s getting, you know, not really a common player like that, but again, I mean, it’s the first match of the year, so I’m just gonna try to mainly focus on my stuff, my tennis, and trying to be very focused from the first point till the last. I just to go there and have a good match.”
About his goals for 2016 Berdych stated: “This season is going to be really packed, especially, it’s the Olympics. For me there is one more thing, that I have to play the first round of the Davis Cup to get my qualification for the Olympics,” the Czech explained and added:
“It’s gonna be a little bit different than the last year. I think last year I just tried to use all the time for myself and just for my direction of the career. But this year I will have to look also on Davis Cup, and representing the country was always on the high priority of my goals and achievements, so I’m going to definitely include that.”
Concerning his plans of playing doubles as well in Rio, he said: “It’s quite in advance to think about it, but actually it’s once in four years, and, well, I’m definitely going to play singles. I’m going to think, and if everything goes well and we going to get in Radek, I would like to give a shot with that. You know, it’s a competition that you have the easiest way to get a medal because you play the least amount of the matches.”
Berdych said about his main goals: “I’m expecting a long, tough season, you know, first of all, staying healthy and that’s gonna be the main thing. Then you are able to play the whole season, and then you are able to compete with all the guys and being competitive enough that, you know, you are strong and fit. It’s been a while since I put myself into the top 10 and holding that place. There will be new, younger guys coming up trying to steal that position. So that’s gonna be a good, like a baseline to keep and, you know, try to move forward from that, it would be awesome.”
Berdych had reached a personal career high fourth position in May last year before he finished the season being sixth in the world.
“I think every opponent and every player stands in their position, and really, no matter what number is in front of your name, it’s just your opponent for the day and you just have to be focused on that one. And once you pass him, the same thing again,” he said.
“I mean, if you’re gonna be looking too far ahead, you know, you might lose some things which are right around you. So I have been used to do that, you know, all my career, and I think it works pretty well till now, so, you know, let’s see. I’m just gonna try to stick with that, try to work on my things and just keep going, you know, working hard and hoping that one day I can move myself and just get higher in the ranking.”
Berdych has come to Doha before but the current conditions seem to be colder and windier that usual.
“It’s not the first time here for me. But all I remember so far was nice, warm days. This year is a bit different, but the other hand I spend already a week here, so I hope I’m going to be able to use that just to be more used for the conditions,” he stated.
“It’s all about how you gonna prepare for that day and just to see and adjust accordingly to that. You can have days where it’s extremely hot, the days where it’s not really that hot, it’s much cooler and much more windier and stuff like that. You just have to deal with these things. But I still think this is pretty good conditions to start the year. I know really of much worse than this.”