This 27-year-old Czech has been referred to as surly and boring by the press. Perhaps because of his penchant for one-syllable answers to some of their questions.
He has also sometimes been referred to as a bad boy and roguish. Really?! With that face? He looks like the kind of sweet-faced boy you would see shoveling hay down on the farm.
His forehand is about as clean as that fresh-scrubbed face of his.
The speed and accuracy with which he unleashes that forehand makes it one of the best in the game. It also makes him dangerous on every surface, especially on grass.
Wielding that racket like a sword, if conditions are right, he can wound any opponent.
Perhaps it is fitting that such a sweet angelic face should hit the sweet spot so consistently.
But then he isn’t all that sweet.
He can get angry and show it.
At the 2012 Australian Open, after Nicolas Almagro hit the ball straight at Berdych, Berdych refused to accept Almagro’s apology. And even after winning the match, when Almagro walked up to the net to graciously accept his defeat and congratulate Berdych, Berdych did not do the gentlemanly thing, but rather ignored Almagro altogether and flat-out refused to shake his hand.
Berdych doesn’t forgive and he doesn’t forget. Later that year before the Davis Cup final, he had this to say about Almagro. “I faced Almagro many times this year and won most of them. If he’s nominated, he will be the weak point on which we can build our victory.”
It sounds like this fresh-faced farm boy has a bit of a dark edge. A farm boy with a dark edge? Wielding a sword? Who could his romantic doppelganger possibly be?
Would you like to know?
Okay then…as you wish…
He’s no other than Westley as the Dread Pirate Roberts in The Princess Bride.
If Westley is his yin, the Dread Pirate is his yang.
Just as Westley seems content to be compliant and do whatever Buttercup wishes, so too Berdych has seemed content to be within the top 10.
But Westley is willing to do what it takes to win his Buttercup. He is driven by true love and will come to Buttercup’s rescue no matter what obstacles he finds along the way. It is in his quest for Buttercup that he becomes the Dread Pirate.
Only then does he become truly heroic.
He out-fences Inigo, out-wrestles Fezzik, out-thinks Vezzini……
and even manages to return from the dead to rescue Buttercup.
If Berdych is going to have any hope of winning a Grand Slam, perhaps he’s going to need to don that black mask and brandish that dark sword.