In New Coach Ivanisevic, Berdych Says He's Found 'The Guy'
Czech excited about new partnership with Croatian champion
Tomas Berdych had been looking for a coach like Goran Ivanisevic. Berdych wanted to find someone who had played and won big titles, but also someone who knew how to get a message across to a top player on the ATP World Tour.
In Ivanisevic, a former World No. 2 who recently had success coaching Marin Cilic, Berdych says he's found “the guy”.
“I think that was the person I was waiting for,” he said on Monday before the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
The ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Ohio will be the first time Ivanisevic and Berdych have teamed up at a tournament. The Czech veteran announced their partnership a week ago.
The 30 year old had been playing without a coach since mid-May, when he split with Daniel Vallverdu. Ivanisevic and fellow Croatian Cilic stopped working together on 21 July after being a team for almost three years.
During their time together, Cilic won his first Grand Slam championship at the 2014 US Open. The 6'6” right-hander also reached a career high No. 8 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
Berdych wants Ivanisevic, the 2001 Wimbledon champion, to have a similar effect on him, especially with winning big titles. In recent years, the 6'5” right-hander has been one of the most consistent players on tour, finishing the past six seasons inside the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings.
But Berdych has admittedly struggled in the biggest matches. He's won 12 ATP World Tour titles but only one Masters 1000 crown (2005 BNP Paribas Masters). He enters Cincinnati with a 30-14 record this season, but he's only 2-7 against the Top 10, according to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone.
The 30 year old remains confident his best tennis lies ahead.
“These days I think 30 is not an old age for tennis players. If you look around, I think it's still a pretty good time,” Berdych said. “That's why I'm just trying to look for all the possible help and just trying to improve myself as best as I can.”
Ivanisevic knows about late-career breakthroughs. The 6'4” left-hander had won 21 tour-level titles before making his way to SW19 in June 2001. As a wild card entry, the Split native won seven consecutive matches to capture his first Grand Slam championship at the age of 29.
“He's the guy who found a way to break through,” Berdych said. “So let's see if it's going to be the right thing, the right addition.”