With the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals underway, today we are bringing you the gear of world #6, Tomas Berdych. Including his first round loss to Michael Llodra at the US Open, Berdych has only won 3 out of 12 matches, but his strong start and finals appearance at Wimbledon helped him qualify at #6. In losing in three sets to Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, Berdych carried out a Dunlop bag, but has not played Dunlop racquets since the beginning of 2010. Still under contract with Dunlop, Berdych has instead been openly playing a different racquet. At first glance, it appears that Berdych is playing a simple Head YouTek Radical MP. There are two problems with this belief upon closer inspection. The first is that it is tough for me to believe that a 6’5, 200 pound hard hitting baseliner would be using a racquet under 11 ounces. The second indication that the racquet is not a stock YouTek Radical MP is the 16x19 string pattern, which is normally available only on the YouTek Radical Pro, a heavier model. At first thought that could be possible as well, except that the string pattern is still different on the Radical Pro compared to what Berdych has been using. The string spacing is slightly different, and actually matches the string spacing and pattern of the Head YouTek Prestige Pro. The racquet does use the Radical orange paintjob, and does not use the CAP grommet system from the Prestige series. So basically we have a custom racquet that is made using the Radical/Prestige mold, and the Prestige Pro string spacing but a Radical type grommet set. After having strung some of these racquets, I can say that it is closest to a YouTek Prestige Pro, but without the CAP grommet system. Berdych has stayed loyal in his string choice, unlike racquets, as he has used Luxilon Big Banger ALU Power 125 since 2005. Since 2009 his string tension has remained basically constant at 28/26kg. This is right around 62 pounds on the mains and 57 pounds on the crosses. The lower tension on the crosses is designed to expand the sweetspot a bit towards the sides of the frame, making it more forgiving on off center shots. To me, it is odd that he did not adjust tension when he switched to the 16x19 string pattern on the Head racquet compared to the denser 18x20 pattern on his older Dunlop. Berdych has been under contract with Nike for clothing and shoes for awhile and that hasn’t changed. He was most recently wearing the Nike Air Zoom Breathe 2k10, which is an update to the previous Air Max Breathe Free II. Berdych has also worn the Vapor series this year, chosing the Lunar Vapor Tour for some surfaces. The preference for Berdych seems to be lighter weight shoes to help movement speed more than worrying about stability. That is our glance at the equipment used by world #6, Tomas Berdych. Hopefully he can work out the recent kinks in his game and make a strong showing in the final tournament of the year. Check out our upcoming feature soon, world #5, Andy Murray.
Barclays Equipment Line Up: Tomas Berdych