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« If Tennis Players Were Celebrities Part 1 | Main | Maria Sharapova's Swimsuit Shoot for Esquire »

Bad Boys of the ATP: Tomas Berdych

Bad boys. We love em, then we hate em, then we love em again. For most women, there is nothing sexier than a man who loves you then leaves you begging for more. Endless songs are written about these men our fathers would certainly not approve of, but whether we simply daydream about these rebellious romantics, (hello, Eric Northman), or actually pursue them is another matter entirely.Only one thing is for sure, at some point in our lives we will find ourselves attracted to someone who strays a little on the naughty side.

If you're a bad boy addict, modern day tennis leaves a lot to be desired. On the surface, men's tennis is filled with gentlemen who hug their opponents after a loss and don't spit the dummy when a call doesn't go their way. They don't drink, they don't smoke and they certainly don't resemble James Dean (or Deen, if you prefer). But there are a few rough cuts amongst the polished stones, those who fit in more amongst John McEnroe and Ilie Nastase than the Wimbledon tea room regulars. Over the next few months, I will make an attempt to sort out those ATP players you'd take home to meet your mother from those you... definitely wouldn't.

It takes a lot for the mild-mannered Rafael Nadal to call someone stupid, but that's exactly how he has referred to our latest bad boy. This Czech player has no problems showing his disdain for media, umpires and other players. He is, of course, Tomas Berdych.

Bad Behaviour

Berdych has never been a big fan of the Spaniards. Back in 2006 - long before he was ranked No.6 in the world - Berdych showed his distaste for a pro-Nadal crowd after his win over the Spanish player. Turning to the crowd as he approached the net, Berdych brought his finger to his lips in a 'be quiet' sign meant for the Spanish fans, (the match was played in Madrid; Spanish fans there were plenty). His actions prompted Nadal to call him a 'bad person', which was perhaps a touch heavy-handed. The two exchanged words, and they've never really made up.

Four years later, Berdych became annoyed when an umpire had the gall to discuss a line call with Nadal. "He is probably scared of him (Nadal) and allowed him talk too much," Berdych said of the exchange. He was quick to clarify that his problem was with the umpire, not Nadal, but you have to wonder if he would have made such a fuss if he was playing a fellow Czech.

Berdych's war with the Spanish continued in 2012, when he refused to shake the hand of Nicolas Almagro. Almagro had hit a ball at Berdych in a fiercely contested match at the Australian Open. Berdych fell down in a display most soccer players would envy, and refused to accept Almagro's apologies. After he won the match, Berdych snubbed Almagro and was booed off court by a disgusted Australian crowd.

Far from a forgive and forget kind of bloke, Berdych hit out at Almagro later on in 2012 prior to a Davis Cup clash. “I faced Almagro many times this year and won most of them,” he said. “If he’s nominated, he will be the weak point on which we can build our victory. He’s missing that little something that distinguishes great players [from the rest]. He’s won smaller tournaments this year. But he always has a chance if he plays.”

Say one thing for Berdych, say that he's honest.

Bad to the Bone

Despite his on-court misbehaviours, prior to 2011 many fans refused to accept Berdych as a downright bad boy due to his long-term relationship with the infinitely sweet Lucie Safarova. Fans cooed over tennis's cutest couple, and most hoped the nine year relationship would result in marriage.

Unfortunately, Berdych had other ideas. He split with Lucie in 2011 and just months later was spotted with a model named Ester Satorova. Due to the fact Ester has posed in such classy, tasteful shoots such as this (NSFW), fans took an immediate dislike Berdych's new squeeze.

Despite most of us anticipating that Ester was nothing more than a rebound, her and Berdych are still going strong after two years. Perhaps the bad boy just needed a bad girl.

Bad Boy Gone Good

Berdych doesn't enjoy the most warm relationships with tennis people, but he can boast that he never neglects his fans. He is short in interviews, preferring to express his thoughts and personality through his personal social media pages, such as Facebook and Instagram. Berdych asks fans for their opinions, shares jokes, posts music clips and occasionally responds to people.

Berdych is a player who has very much benefited from social media. Without the technology, he would be viewed as more cold and distant than he actually is. Through his interactions with fans, Berdych has shown us that underneath his bad boy image there is a man who just wants to be liked.

How Bad?

4/5* His confidence and occasional arrogance reveal a man who is more naughty than nice.

* 1 - Wannabe Wild
2 - Good Times Bad Times
3 - Bad Company
4 - Nasty Naughty Boy
5 - Leader of the Pack

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