By Jan Kodes
Watch out this year for Thomas Berdych!
The people of the Czech Republic are excited about Thomas and his great play at the Sony Ericsson Open, reaching the final and beating Roger Federer along the way.
Thomas has improved his game by improving his footwork and has lost some weight as well. His groundstrokes are more consistent compared to last year. He is also a lot more confident on the court.
Against Andy Roddick in the final, a double-fault at a crucial time (5-5, deuce) in the first set probably cost him the match. The first set was more important for Thomas since Andy was unbeatable in the second. Andy was better server at important times and he took mental control over Thomas. Andy played smarter and was more steady.
Thomas still needs more experience at what to do at the net, as he lost some chances there when he got passed.
It was a very good final and congratulations to Andy. For Thomas, I am sure the time is going to come for him.
Both Thomas and Andy have started the year very well. The rest of the season will be very interesting since Federer and Rafael Nadal are not really peaking as yet.
We will see what happens now at the European clay court events that will provide many tests leading into Roland Garros.
Jan Kodes is regarded as one of the greatest Czech players of all time. He won his first major title at the French Open 40 years ago in 1970 and repeated again in 1971. He won the men’s singles title at Wimbledon in 1973 and was the singles runner-up twice at the U.S. Open – in 1971 and 1973. His new book “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” will be released in English this Spring. The book can be pre-ordered here: http://www.amazon.com/Jan-Kodes-Journey-Behind-Curtain/dp/0942257685/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1270555884&sr=1-1