Former world No. 4 Tomas Berdych has announced his retirement from professional tennis, bringing an end to his 17-year career on Saturday.
The 34-year-old won 13 career titles including the 2005 Paris Masters title.
Confirming his decision in London, Berdych said his body is no longer permitting him to compete at the top-level, saying the step has brought him ‘big relief’.
“The feeling I went through in my last official match was one that told me I tried absolutely everything, but the end result is how it is,” Berdych said. “The level I was always chasing, the top results, being in the top positions (of the ATP Rankings)… My body doesn’t allow me to do so. I always look at situations very realistically. I was standing with my feet on my ground. When I made my decision with myself and (loved ones), I felt a big relief.”
One of the top moments, perhaps the best phase, of Berdych’s career came during the 2010 Wimbledon where he knocked out defending champion Roger Federer before getting past Novak Djokovic in straight sets to set up the title clash with eventual champion Rafael Nadal. “Even the final that I lost, it was a very, very special moment,” he said.
He also led Czech Republic to Davis Cup titles in 2012 and 2013.
Currently ranked 103, Berdych revealed he had made the decision to call it quits at the US Open this year where he exited in the first round. He had been battling back issue for the past two seasons “I don’t have any regrets. Even the bad things or negative experiences I went through were there for a reason. Without them, I wouldn’t be as good as I was. I was always trying to do the best I possibly can. This is something you create with your achievements and your behaviour. I was ready for every single match and putting 100 per cent into every time I stepped on the court,” he reflected on his career.
Berdych now wants to spend more time with family. “The plan is not to have any plans. The last 15 or 20 years were so hectic that I just need to breathe out easily. I need to have time for myself and my family, who gave me almost everything. I didn’t have the proper time because the tennis career requires being very selfish and absolutely into the sport. And now I have the time.
He continued, “Sport was my life from the time I was a kid until now and I wouldn’t change that, absolutely not. But if it’s just going to be (my profession) or just as my hobby, I really don’t know. And I don’t want to know. I really just want to have every day as a clean slate.”