Sport Tennis Tired Berdych starts Classic with a win

Tired Berdych starts Classic with a win

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World No.7 Czech Tomas Berdych admits the late season Davis Cup final victory has taken its toll as he prepares for next week’s Australian Open.

Berdych helped his the Czech Republic clinch the title with victory over Novak Djokovic-led Serbia in November.

The 28-year-old took some time to find his range at the AAMI Classic tennis tournament at Melbourne’s Kooyong.

He trailed Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 5-2 in the first set but fought back to take it 7-5 before cruising through the second 6-2.

“It didn’t start well for me from the beginning but I was able to get better and I was finding the rhythm,” he said.

“I think it was a solid start.”

Berdych, who was ranked as high as five mid-2013, said he didn’t have enough off-season, which also contributed to his first round exit in Doha on New Year’s Eve.

“I have no option and I need to deal with that and prepare as best as possible,” he said.

“It’s not been the best off-season here and I need to find the time here to get ready for the beginning of the season.”

The tournament was rocked by the withdrawal of defending champion and top-ranked Australian Lleyton Hewitt, citing fatigue after his Brisbane Open title victory over Roger Federer.

Hewitt will play world No.4 Brit Andy Murray in an exhibition match on Friday night.