Radek Stepanek upbeat on Berdych`s Davis Cup comeback

Prague: Radek Stepanek said Tuesday he believed Tomas Berdych will return for the semi-final against France in September after missing holders the Czech Republic`s quarter-final win over Japan last weekend.

"We know that if we want to succeed again, we have to play with the strongest team," Stepanek told reporters.

"I firmly believe and hope he will return to the team and fight for a place in the final again."

The 28-year-old Berdych and 35-year-old veteran Stepanek led the Czechs to two consecutive Davis Cup titles in 2012 and 2013.

Without Berdych, the Czechs led by Stepanek and Lukas Rosol swept Japan 5-0 in Tokyo for their 11th straight Davis Cup win last weekend.

They will play the French, who beat an under-strength German team 3-2 in their quarter-final, on September 12-14.

Berdych is an exception among top players who often shun the Davis Cup to focus on their individual careers.

He has only missed three ties since he was first called up to the Czech Davis Cup team in 2003.

Berdych, who equalled his career high world ranking of five last month, is now the highest-ranked player who has yet to win a grand slam.