Jiri Lehecka backed to be the standard-bearer for Czech tennis

Jiri Lehecka
Jiri Lehecka celebrates

Former world No 4 Tomas Berdych believes that Jiri Lehecka could be the standard-bearer for Czech tennis in the men’s game for years to come.

Berdych has been impressed with the 21-year-old’s development both physically and as a player.

Lehecka has shown glimpses of the quality that could make him a star on the ATP Tour and his composure has been specially lauded.

“He’s very young. But what I’ve seen, it’s really the way he’s composed with his game. I think it’s very good,” Berdych told the press in Dubai.

“What I like is his fitness preparation or his body being strong and some of the young kids, they might struggle with it. They need more muscles or lack power. That’s definitely not his case, which I like.”

Berdych is humbled to have been noted as an inspiration to young Lehecka.

“Even he mentioned it many times, so it’s nice to hear for me when somebody took a bit of that inspiration,” Berdych said.

“It’s funny to hear, he was 10, 11 when we won the Davis Cup, so he was really [a] kid and we were doing really well. So you already start to see those differences in ages, but other than that, very good. I think he has a bright future ahead of him.”

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Berdych doesn’t feel that he has anything to contribute to Lehecka’s career as a coach right now but wouldn’t rule out a future collaboration.

“I was always the guy going by the instinct and by the constant feeling at the moment, so we will see how things develop, how it goes,” Berdych said.

“[There are] not any commitments put on the table yet, which I don’t think is necessary. His team is good, is strong. They’re doing well, they’re doing a good job, so just maybe in the right time, right moment, we will see.”

Berdych feels that Lehecka could be the player who restores the proud tradition of Czech players competing for the biggest trophies on the ATP Tour, admitting it has been too long since there was a top player from the Czech Republic.

“I think after a bit of a slow period after maybe myself and Radek — we stopped and we left the stage to the other guys — then I think he’s definitely the one that should carry the flag and go forward,” Berdych said.

“That’s also one of the reasons [why I went to Dubai]. I just want to stop by and see him more personally, closely. We’ll see how things develop, how things go. Good stuff.”