The Tennis world first caught sight of Tomas berdych when he defeated Roger federer in the second round of the 2004 Olympics in Athens. A teenager with dirty blonde hair and a wide grin, Berdych’s grand arrival was received with incredible amounts of praise. As the years have gone by, the Czech player has earned the reputation of a choker. Able to win tough matches against the best players in the world, Berdych is not able to replicate high levels of tennis in consecutive matches. Now at the age of thirty-one and ranked outside the top 10 for the first time in almost a decade, Berdych is at a major crossroads.

With ambitions to win a major title still intact, is he finally ready to make one final push

Mental fragility has cost in him big matches

When one looks at Tomas Berdych, they see an impressive and imposing physique. With the ability to hit the ball with incredible amounts of pace, the Czech man is not lacking weapons. However, the mental aspect of the game is something that has cost him time after time. The margins in tennis and are small and if you were to compare the Berdych’s game style to someone like a Juan Martin Del Potro, you would not find much of a difference. Both men hit the stuffing out of the ball and are viable at the net. Unlike Del Potro who struggles with injury, Berdych’s main weakness is his inability to relax and trust in his own abilities.

When he comes up against Federer or Djokovic (in particular) he will begin the matches with belief. Then suddenly, he hits a couple of loose shots which causes his shoulders to slump. An all too familiar script plays out as the Berdych leaves the court as the loser.

His game is very one-dimensional

Another major point of concern with Berdych is his approach to tennis.

Even someone with the resume of Rafael Nadal is looking to constantly improve and change certain aspects of his game. Berdych has one game style and has pretty much stuck with it since he first became a professional back in 2002. He hits the ball very hard and flat, which works well when he is feeling the ball. However, hitting a flat ball is very much like playing Russian roulette because if your timing is slightly off, a series of unforced errors follow.

Berdych has yet to embrace the full dimensions of a tennis court and while the recent hiring of former Wimbledon champion Richard Krajicek is a good start, you cannot change someone’s game style so far into a career. Berdych still has some time to make a change but if he is looking to emulate Federer’s late career revival he first needs to acknowledge that his game has several areas that need improvement.