When an 18-year-old Tomas Berdych made his Australian Open debut in 2004 as a qualifier and got crushed in straight sets by a fourth-ranked Andre Agassi in the second round, he probably didn’t expect he’d end up being one of the most consistent performers of his generation at Melbourne Park.
The veteran Czech has reached the quarterfinals or better in seven of his past eight appearances in Melbourne, and breezed through his two opening rounds this week, setting up an intriguing showdown with No. 18 seed Diego Schwartzman on Friday.
“I passed qualies and then I played against Andre. It was a hell of an experience right away. Just when you get through the qualies, you play on those outside courts and then you end up on Rod Laver Arena against Agassi, it was quite a tough draw for my first Australian Open, but that’s alright,” Berdych recalled.
“The only thing I’m more sad about is that I played Andre two times in my career and never managed to beat him, and he’s actually the only one of those top guys that have a clean sheet with me. So unfortunately I cannot change that,” the 33-year-old added with a smile.