By Mario Sarmento
He’s the seventh-ranked player on the ATP Tour and a Wimbledon and Sony Open Tennis tournament finalist, but Czech Republic star Tomas Berdych revealed some things you may not have known about him during a Q&A on the entertainment stage at the Sony Open.
A large crowd gathered to take photos, shoot video, and listen and laugh as the 28-year-old took questions about a variety of topics. Berdych had just beaten Stephanie Robert of France in the second round, and when he took the stage, he talked about everything from his thoughts about Miami to his clothing line, and even which piece of clothing he would spend the rest of his life wearing (if he had to).
Miami is a great city, definitely it is. And even better, the time of the year. I guess you guys are enjoying Spring Break, and you can come to see some good tennis and enjoy it. I hope you like it, same as we do, and just enjoy.
Give us your inside scoop on (2nd round match):
TB: The beginning was not really optimal, but that’s how it is. Not every day and every time you can bring the best, but after the first set, I just found my rhythm, found my game, and everything was better and I was hitting the ball nice and clean. That’s what I need in my game.
It’s the end that matters, right Tomas?
TB: Always, the last point is the one that matters.
Now, how do you prepare yourself for the next match?
TB: Well, I will practice, go to the gym, and just try to relax, get some energy back. It’s good to have a day off, and just get better prepared for my next opponent.
And this is your favorite type of court right, this is what you’re best at?
TB: I’m trying to be (laughing).
Besides the Sony Open, what other tournament do you look forward to that you really like to focus on?
TB: Well, for us it’s always the Slams. I mean, (all) four of them. But really, it’s because of the history, and it’s a Slam, so it’s something different. But of the other ones, I would really say Monte Carlo; it’s one of my favorite places and really nice and very unique tournament.
How is Monaco different from Miami?
TB: I think the site, it’s very special, very unique. The tournament is in a city maybe the size of this site (Crandon Park). So, you have to figure in the site of the tennis there and the city, and everything. And the crowd is also great; so many people come up there, so I think it’s a very traditional and unique mix of the setup, and that’s what I like.
Fashion is key here (in Miami), and I just heard you’re doing a new fashion line.
TB: Yeah, I am. What I like the most is, it’s different. It’s very unique and I think that’s the way, because it’s a fashion brand, it’s not a sports brand, so it’s nice that they are starting to make sports clothes and sportswear. They always keep the idea that it is a little more fashion than just a sport. There was a lot of talk about my outfit in Australia, especially my blue stripes. Well, it was interesting, it was different. I liked it too, so I cannot complain. If that one was different, just be ready for Paris (French Open). That’s going to be...
Can you give us a little inside scoop?
TB: No, I can’t.
Social media, you’re on it... what’s the craziest thing, question you’ve been asked?
TB: There are many of them. Really, just to pick one. Today, I was picking one, so I will repeat it. And the question was, ‘If I had to change to only one piece of clothing that I would have to wear all the time until the end of my life, what would it be?’ So, I said, underwear, right? (Crowd laughs). I think you have to, and this is what you always wear, and you can add it to something else. If not, whatever.
What’s your favorite thing to do when not playing tennis? How do you spend your down time?
TB: It’s always different. We are all always very much locked, all tennis players, into the tennis. If I really have some time and can do it, I like to see the parts of the city. I travel all around the world, and people ask me, ‘Okay, you’ve been there, there, there, what do you know about it?’ And I say, yeah, I get coached, hotel, airport, kind of a triangle. So at least, I can go, I can see something else, and there are many beautiful, interesting and different places that nobody can see. But also, you need the time for that. So it’s not so much, but if I do have time, I try to do this. If there’s not so much time, I am busy, as you said, with social media. I really keep myself busy.
What about Miami? You’ve come to this tournament several times. What’s your favorite thing to eat, or do in Miami?
TB: To eat. Maybe I can get some recommendations for local food, stuff like that (Cuban food). Or even some typical local food. But we always try to go to a restaurant, try different stuff. I think this point is always going to be boring because you try to keep eating the same food because you cannot risk anything, so that’s why I’m probably not going to give you anything interesting. But, you can have a really great time here.
Do you eat the same thing, or is it just to keep your regimen?
TB: I think it’s more like that; it’s not like superstitions. Really, the body is like an engine and it needs fuel. For us, it’s the food. If you put the right food in, it’s the best start. It’s about that, not about eating chicken for the entire two weeks. It’s not like that.
I heard you’re a big hockey fan. Is that true? Do you play hockey?
TB: Yes. I would say I’m more a fan than a player. And many of the tennis guys used to play hockey when we were kids, because in the winter, we didn’t have weather like this (Miami). So they kept us indoors, so we played hockey and then tennis in the summer. But, I was the lucky one. I could play tennis in the winter, too. But yeah, just a fan, and I’d like to, if I have time, I’d like to see the Miami Heat as well. And again, you get into the same problem, with my routine. And you like to see all other sports.