This is the sixth year in a row that Tomas Berdych has made it into the top eight ranked players in the world, and consequently reached the ATP World Tour Finals.
His first showing, in 2010, can be said to have taken place in light of his shocking performance at Wimbledon, where he defeated Roger Federer in the quarterfinals and undid Novak Djokovic in his next match in straight sets. It is this run to the finals of the prestigious Grand Slam which brought Berdych into the top ten for the first time, and he has not left it since.
This season has been one similar to his previous five: one strong showing at a Grand Slam, a couple of titles and overall relative consistency. Once again, it has been enough for him to secure a place in the top eight, but is this consistency a blessing or a curse?
He started the year emphatically, by reaching the Australian Open semifinals after uprooting Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2006. Another notable achievement was the Monte Carlo final, where he managed to take Novak Djokovic to three sets but was unable to make a final blow.
After this, he dipped and was unable to go beyond the fourth round in any of the Grand Slams. He found some form recently however, as he defended his title in Stockholm again and won the title at Shenzhen.
When it comes to the World Tour Finals, the Czech has only reached the semifinal stage once in his five attempts, and besides this, he has a dismal 6-10 win-loss record in the tournament. The fact that he has reached the tournament this year once again in lieu of extremely similar performances may mean he is also in for a similar Word Tour Finals once again.
What does not help Berdych's case is the group he has been drawn in. Although the past few matches against Djokovic have been closer than expected, it is hard to imagine the Czech being able to keep his nerve and win against the current world number one at a big tournament such as this. Roger Federer is another opponent whom he has not been mentally strong against recently, despite having some solid victories against him in the past. He also has a losing record against Kei Nishikori but he can surely be more optimistic about his chances against the Japanese, who is not having a season as brilliant as the last.
All in all, Berdych has proven once again that he is one of the best, especially when it comes to consistency. No one can deny him of a place in the elite eight, but he will have to work harder than ever to generate a performance that takes him forward into the latter stages of the tournament.