Tomas Berdych explains ‘importance’ of retirement timing after making Roger Federer claim

Federer beats Berdych to reach Australian Open semi-final

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One of Roger Federer’s former rivals has stressed the importance of choosing the right time to retire, after casting doubt over the Swiss star’s comeback. Tomas Berdych spent eight years in the top ten, and defeated the 20-time Grand Slam champion several times in the earlier rounds of Majors. Now aged 36, Berdych called time on his career two years ago and insists he has no regrets.

Berdych was one of the players who was able to rival the dominance of Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic during the late 2000s and most of the 2010s.

The former world No 4 is the second player in history who has been able to defeat Federer multiple times at Major level before the semi-final stage, and is one of three players who have defeated all of the Big Four – including Andy Murray – at the Slams.

His most notable achievement was reaching the Wimbledon final in 2010, where he defeated Federer and Djokovic back-to-back to make his only Major final, losing to Nadal.

The 13-time title winner then announced the end of his professional career during the Nitto ATP Finals in November 2019 when he was just 34 – the same age as Djokovic is now, and younger than Federer and Nadal – and has since gone on to stress the importance of choosing the right time to retire.

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The Czech star joined the likes of other retired players including David Ferrer and Tommy Haas at the Champions Tennis tournament at London’s Royal Albert Hall at the end of November, and admitted that the event didn’t make him want to return to the pro tour.

“For me, all the competitiveness has been left with my career, with when I turned my page and moved on,” he said, speaking exclusively to Express Sport during the Champions Tennis event.

“So these days I’ve been on court to just have fun, enjoy being relaxed, and left all the stress and all the pressure in the past. So I enjoy my time and it’s basically, that was my goal and I achieved it.”

Berdych also spoke of the highlights of his career, and admitted that the timing of his retirement was as important as his achievements.

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His words come after he cast doubt over his former rival Federer’s comeback, admitting it would be “very difficult” for the 40-year-old to return to match competition, and instead thought the former world No 1 should focus on ending his career with a showing at a tournament.

“It’s not easy at all because once the ball is rolling and you get out of it for a while, and because of injury, when you are 25 it’s not so difficult to come back and catch the train again. But in this stage, yeah, let’s see,” he said.

“I mean, of course I wish Roger all the best for success for [the] comeback and maybe play a nice couple of tournaments just to finish up the career but [it] will be difficult.”

Having hinted at the end of Federer’s career, the 36-year-old described the significance of timing his own retirement right.

“A quite important actual detail in my career was the timing for ending my career,” he said.

“Because that’s also something which is very important, that today I’ve never felt one second that I should stay, [never felt] like any doubts at all.”

However, Berdych did name one result he picked as an overarching highlight in his career, adding: “But I think to close up the career, which was very successful, let’s name the Wimbledon final [2010], that was [a] really great run.

“And being able to close it up and round it up, so I’m happy overall.”

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