Tomas Berdych left his third Hyundai Hopman Cup appearance as a champion unbeaten in his four singles matches and recorded his first mixed doubles win in Perth along the way with the world No. 7 Czech showing that he is ready to consistently match it with the top four men in the game.
The 26-year-old had an unblemished week in Perth beating Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-7, 6-3, USA’s world No. 8 Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-3, Denmark’s Frederik Nielsen 6-1, 6-3 and then in the Final, France’s Richard Gasquet 7-6, 6-4.
The Czechs only had to play mixed doubles twice all week and after losing to Bulgaria on Monday, Berdych teamed with Petra Kvitova to beat the USA on Wednesday as he finally got a win in that format for his first, and only time, in three Hopman Cup appearances.
However, even more importantly in all seriousness was the fact that he teamed with Kvitova to win the Hopman Cup for the Czech Republic for the second time.
Berdych is passionate about representing the Czech Republic as much as he can and that’s why he is keen to play at the Hyundai Hopman Cup as much as possible.
His first two visits were with Lucie Safarova and now he returned with another left-hander, Kvitova, and is delighted to have left as a champion.
“Well of course as long as I have chance to play any team event for my country I’m always, always proud to come play and be helpful for the team. I played for many years in Davis Cup, managed to be in the final, win the semi-final but unfortunately didn’t make it,” Berdych said.
“Here it’s a bit different. For the third time I came here, play with Petra, win the title, so of course it’s a great feeling.
“I like the role in the team, that I’m not really the leader and just trying to come up with some points. I’m happy to make all four of them and we can be sitting here as the winners.”
Berdych has always felt that the Hopman Cup has been the perfect way to start any new season, and now the world No. 7 and former Wimbledon finalist will take great heart from his wins over Dimitrov, Fish, Nielsen and Gasquet.
Given his outstanding form to beat a fellow top 10 player in Fish, one who belongs back in there in Gasquet and a young gun who will be there before long in Dimitrov, Berdych could have a big Australian summer to look ahead to as well.
“It’s just great to start the year here because you are guaranteed at least three singles matches, some more in the mixed if you need it. It is just great stuff with all of the hospitality and the whole place,” Berdych said.
“It is all so well made for the players. This is not my first time here, but every year it is even better than the previous one. The crowd is nice and it’s going to go to the new arena now and it just shows how strong the event is, and how it will keep building on the history that it already has.
“It is just a great week at the start of the year so if I am going to have another chance to get another invitation, I would be happy to come here again.”
Both Berdych and Kvitova won all four of their singles matches at Hyundai Hopman Cup XXIV. That took the pressure off the mixed doubles, but Berdych was definitely relieved to at least win one of those encounters they had during the week finally.
“We both have the same feeling that it’s the best to win the singles and then just go on court to enjoy the mixed doubles. To play the singles it’s much more important and we did it great. We both beat really strong opponents and we are happy for that,” he said.
“Definitely for me the highlight of the week was the winning of the mixed. As I said, I knew that one match was going to be important and this one was important, and we won it. All week was great and every single day was a special one for both of us.
“We did great in our four singles, winning the matches and that’s very important. We came here as singles players and that’s why I’m happy to win all of those for a perfect start to the year.”
As for his world No. 2 partner for the week, Berdych has no doubt that Kvitova has all the tools to be the world No. 1 and from what he saw inside the Burswood Dome for the Hopman Cup, he wouldn’t be surprised if it’s only a matter of time before she gets there.
“From my point of view I think her standard is pretty high and it’s the way of deserving to be the second player in the world and just have a small step to come up to be No.1,” Berdych said.
“What she showed here is that even though she probably wasn’t 100 per cent healthy, she won all of her four matches and they weren’t easy at all. She just showed the way that she is playing and that should be where she is.”