Tomas Berdych: Fresh off a Davis Cup win for the Czech Republic earlier this month, the 6-foot-5 Berdych finished 2012 with a 61-23 record, registering a shocking win over Roger Federer at the US Open along the way and continuing to try to break grip the “Big Four” have on tennis’ majors.
Strengths: In still conditions, Berdych is one of the most dangerous swingers in tennis. Using his height, the 27-year-old Czech can belt booming serve after booming serve and climbs on top of the ball well from the baseline, where he can fire batches of lethal forehands. His raw power affords him the luxury of short points, and Berdych’s willingness to follow the ball into the net and finish the point with a volley serves him well.
Weaknesses: While his height helps him when he steps up to the service line, it hurts him in rallies – particularly long, drawn-out ones. Berdych registers a step slower than the Big Four and can be wrong-footed regularly; his trying to keep the ball in his forehand wheelhouse oftentimes creates problems. And while he doesn’t shy away from big wins, Berdych hasn’t demonstrated the mental fortitude to break through at a big event: he’s beaten Federer at two majors in the last three years, only to lose to another Big Four member thereafter.
Opportunities: While Berdych played in the 2010 Wimbledon final – he lost to Nadal – he has yet to make it past the quarterfinals in Melbourne in nine appearances. But should he deliver a head turning upset this year the chance to back it up will present itself, and should he capitalise, he could place himself among the Big Four. Say hello to the Fabulous Five?
Threats: 13-38. That’s Berdych’s combined head-to-head record against Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Murray. The domination of the Big Four over the men’s field is apparent no matter which player you identify, but for Berdych, the inability to backup a big win – should he have one – with another is keeping him out of the constant conversation of which man can walk away from a major event holding the trophy aloft.
Todd Woodbridge, former world No. 1 doubles player and Tennis Australia’s Head of Pro Tennis:
"Tomas is the best player in the men’s game to not win a major. He has more power and more game than anyone else in the top 10 who hasn’t won a Grand Slam. If he gets his head together mentally, he could win a Slam".