After three misses, Tomas Berdych final reached his first Australian Open semifinal. The Czech outlasted David Ferrer in four sets 61, 64, 26, 64 to shockingly, according to him, win his first career match on Rod Laver Arena.
By defeating Ferrer, Berdych has now reached the semifinals at all four Majors, a feat only matched currently by Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal.
A former Wimbledon finalist, Berdych is now just six sets from his first Grand Slam title. On Thursday night he’ll face either Novak Djokovic or Stanislas Wawrinka.
Here’s what Berdych said after the win over Ferrer:
Q. How does it feel to go through to your first semifinal here?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Well, it feels great. It’s really great feeling. You know, there were some special moments which went well together in this match, making it for the first time here in the Aussie Open to the semis, winning my first match on Rod Laver after all those years. That’s been a very special match to me. I’m extremely happy to go through.
Q. You’ve been a top 10 player for a number of years now. How is it possible it took this long to win on Laver?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Well, I’m not that good with my history of the matches, but as long as I can remember there are names like Agassi, Coria, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic. It’s not the ones you would really be on top and beating them every time.
So, you know, I had a couple of close ones, a couple of not. So really I didn’t get any kind of easy one to make that first match win. So today I needed to fight really hard for that. I made it.
Q. You probably won 10 matches on Hisense though.
TOMAS BERDYCH: That’s another story. You know, that’s how it is. That’s how the setup is. Really, I’m not complaining at all. Both are great arenas with great crowds. The important is to keep winning, and finally I have a first scalp here, as well.
Q. You played so well. You exploited Ferrer’s weaknesses on the hard court so well. Was there something you did research on before the game?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Well, as I said before the game, the last two matches we played, I went through those two matches. In both of them I made a tactics. I made a plan, what I’m going to do, what I’m going to try to do through the match. If this is going to work, I’m going to stick with the plan, it might be the right one.
Second time in a row, it was the right one. But definitely was not easy one.
Q. Do you prepare before the matches in the way of relaxation of reading famous Czech writers or you have some other way?
TOMAS BERDYCH: No, I don’t. Honestly, I just like to have a short nap. I do my warmup, then eat. If there is still time, I just go and really have a 20, 30 minutes nap, then I starts to prepare myself with the tapes, then going on the match.
But, no, not reading. Just some music in the morning on the way here to the club. That’s it.
Q. What happened in the third set? Drop in intensity, did you feel?
TOMAS BERDYCH: I think there was the only one so far I had in the tournament that I drop a set. It was not my optimal game. But, you know, there was a one point where I missed quite an easy volley, then I made a double fault. There was a break from that.
David is a big fighter. He will take every single small chance that he’s going to get. That’s what he did.
Really, it counts in the end, I won three sets. That’s it. I couldn’t expect that all of the matches will be straight sets, it would be I would say easier or that the opponent will not give 100%. Definitely not with David. It’s a really huge, huge fighter. That’s what he proved today.
Q. Maybe Djokovic next. Do you feel like you’re playing well enough to win against him?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Well, I’m playing well, yes. As I said, I feeling really good. It’s going really well this 10 days already. If it’s enough for Novak or Stan, let’s see. I needs to rest. I needs to prepare. I needs to make the same approach as I did in those past matches, really believe in myself, believe in my game. Whatever is going to happen on court, I need to be ready for it.
Q. You’ve had so many accomplishments on the ATP Tour and in Davis Cup. What would it mean to you to win this tournament?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Well, it would be really the top of my career so far, definitely. I mean, that’s not question about it.
But we are still talking about two matches left. These two matches are like I would say maybe 10 or 15 others. If you look at the opponents that you might face in the semis and possibly in the final, really that’s something why you play tennis and why it’s that special when you get to the last stages of the tournament.
So really I’m going to try to do the same: go one by one and let’s see what’s going to happen.
Q. Do you feel in your gut when it’s all done you will be able to lift the trophy, that you can win?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Really, I mean, whatever. If I’m going to face Novak or Stan, it’s going to be, again, about that match. I’m going to give 100% into that match and really not looking into the future, you know.
So really I will make everything what I have left. If it’s going to be the lucky one, the winning one, I’m going to try to prepare myself somehow and be ready for the final.
I mean, really, I’m coming from two extremely tough matches. I will not have answer for that.
Q. You still have Ljubicic behind you in a way? Was he doing something for you in management?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Yeah, that’s correct.
Q. Is he still there?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Ivan is still there.
Q. Are you jealous of Djokovic having Becker, Federer having Edberg, Murray having Lendl? You have Krupa now, who is not that famous.
TOMAS BERDYCH: Maybe he’s not, but we doing a pretty good job. It’s always about the chemistry between the people, if those guys feel great with them, having them in the team. That’s their choice.
I feel great with my team and with my boys. That’s what is very important to me.
Q. In your preparation for the semifinal, do you just hope that you execute as well on that day as you did today or do you tailor a game plan to your opponent, whether it’s Wawrinka or Djokovic?
TOMAS BERDYCH: My next day I will just go to have a hit, you know, like 30, 40 minutes, just to feel the ball, and that’s it. Then there is another day. Then I’m going to know the opponent. Well, I’m going to know the opponent tonight.
Then I’m going to start to think about the way how to approach the game, what’s going to be the game plan, just prepare for that.
But, no, I don’t think it’s necessary to do it that early because I know both of them. I played them many times. There is no reason.
Q. What are the one or two best things that Ljubicic brought to your game?
TOMAS BERDYCH: I don’t know. Don’t misunderstand that. Ivan is not helping me with the game. He’s just in the way of management. He’s not helping me with the tennis. He’s a coach of Milos Raonic. That’s how it is.
Q. You’ve been right up there in the rankings for a long time now. Do you feel you’re hitting the ball better than ever and are better equipped to deal with the pressure situations on Rod Laver?
TOMAS BERDYCH: As I said, I feel good. I earn another big bag of experience in the last season. I hope it’s going to be helpful for the season. So far everything is going well. The season starts pretty good. I just keep going with that.
Q. You won two Davis Cups. You must be very proud of it. What is your reaction now that it seems that not many players are going to play it? Federer is not going to play. Nadal is not going to play. Ferrer is not going to. What should be done, in your opinion, to preserve the competition as it was? Are you going to play?
TOMAS BERDYCH: I will make it shorter. I will play the first home match, and so far that’s it.
Really, I don’t think that I need to be in the position of finding the way how to bring all the other guys when I’m going to be part of it. So I think that I’ve done already enough. That’s it.
Always it’s decision about the players. As you said, I won it twice, done for the team and country quite a lot I would say in those 10 or 11 years. I would say that I deserve some rest.
Q. Is your serve something you’ve worked on over the off season?
TOMAS BERDYCH: Well, I mean, there are a couple things. But, as I said few days ago, my off season was really short. It was not the way that I would expect.
But as you see, that’s probably the way how I should do it. It works pretty well. Yeah, there was some few details about the serve, I would say variation a little bit, just trying to help myself with the rotation of my shoulder a little more. That’s it.
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