Thursday, December 12, 2019
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Thomas Berdych: Confidence counts for nothing

Dubai: Last year’s runner-up Tomas Berdych said mere confidence from his recent win in Rotterdam may not be enough to see him go one better in Dubai this year.

The 28-year-old Czech beat Croatia’s Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-2 on the indoor hardcourts of the Netherlands earlier this month to end a 16-month trophy drought. But heading into Dubai this week, where he lost last year’s final to Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-3, the world No 6 double Davis Cup winner said recent form counted for nothing.

“It’s an aspect I can have in my mind that I was playing well and still can,” said Berdych, who also reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open last month. “But it’s a big change coming from indoor to play here [in Dubai] outside.

“I mean confidence is one thing but then the tournament always starts from zero from the first round and there’s always an opponent who really wants to beat you. Everything starts again from zero and you need to build it back up again and be ready to go for it.”

While his individual form may have been short of silverware last season, Berdych insisted back-to-back team success with the Czech Republic in the Davis Cup had more than made up for it.

“Of course when I come in to a tournament I want to win,” he said. “I played my best last year and lost three finals [in Marseille, Dubai and Bangkok]. All were pretty close.

“While I didn’t win a [individual] title, the Davis Cup was a pretty big one to have so I wasn’t missing it [winning] at all. We have a system whereby in the end it’s not all about winning but consistency over the season anyway.”

Berdych will start his tournament against qualifier Marius Copil of Romania and, if successful, finds himself in a promising half of the draw. He could face world No 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in the quarter-final with whom he has a 4-2 head-to-head record.

If he makes the semi-finals, he could face world No 5 Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina, against whom he has a 2-4 head-to-head history.