Berdych: Is Federer Actually Aging?
Everyone talks about seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer getting older. The Swiss right-hander will turn 36 in less than a month, on 8 August. But at least one of his peers remains unconvinced that he is, in fact, aging.
“I don't see anything that would indicate Roger is getting older or anything like that. I think he's just proving his greatness in our sport,” said Tomas Berdych, who fell to Federer 7-6(4), 7-6(4), 6-4 in the Wimbledon semi-finals on Friday. “If you look at the other guys who are 35, 36, I think you can very clearly see that the age and the years on tour are affecting them. But not with him.”
The ageless champion will play in his 11th Wimbledon final on Sunday when he faces Croatian Marin Cilic. Berdych, who had beaten Federer during their last match-up at SW19, during the 2010 semi-finals, dug in against the fifth seed on Centre Court.
The 6'5” Berdych struck nine aces and saved seven of nine break points against the 18-time Grand Slam champion. Berdych was often the aggressor in the semi-final, charging the net 36 times and winning 20 of those attempts (56 per cent).
“I was trying to find my way. So whatever was possible to do I was trying. I also tried to come a little bit more to the net,” said Berdych, who fell to 6-19 against Federer in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. “But obviously it's very, very difficult. Roger doesn't give you any rhythm at all. He's playing barely with any mistakes. He was controlling the game pretty well. Even those two sets in the tie-breaks, I was still the one facing a couple more break points down... It just shows how well he's playing right now.”
Berdych was trying to reach his second Wimbledon final, after falling to Rafael Nadal in the 2010 title match. The 31-year-old Czech did well to repeat his semi-final appearance of a year ago. Berdych beat two Top 10 players – No. 8 Dominic Thiem and No. 3 Novak Djokovic – en route to his third Wimbledon semi-final.
“I think I played really good tennis throughout the whole tournament. But I just unfortunately faced a guy who's playing his best,” Berdych said.
The World No. 15 said he remains undeterred by falling one win short of reaching his second Grand Slam final. “On one hand it is hard. On the other one, it's a part of the sport I'm doing,” he said. “I'm still fully committed to being around and trying to fight for the results.”