03-20-2007, 07:40 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: In the middle of nowhere... and nowhere near the beach :(
Re: Interviews and Articles
Our Kolechka is a giver! awww
SONY ERICSSON OPEN
March 18, 2007
Davydenko, Schneider Support 'Feed The Children'
© Sony Ericsson Open
World No.4 Nikolay Davydenko and Sony Ericsson WTA Top 20 player Patty Schneider visited Crandon Park Track in Miami during the lead up to the 2007 Sony Ericsson Open. The duo teamed up with tournament staff and volunteers from America’s third largest international charity ‘Feed the Children’ to help load more than 347,000 pounds of food, beverages and personal care products into 14 trucks that will be distributed to more than 50 hunger relief agencies across South Florida.
This year’s Sony Ericsson Open marks the eleventh time that Feed The Children will be involved with the tournament. Over the past 10 years the tournament has supplemented more than 16 million meals to over 163,000 families at an estimated value of close to US$5 million.
“It’s important for the players to take an interest in what the tournaments are doing for those that are less privileged than ourselves. We have the luxury of always knowing that food is going to be available for us, so it is good that the tournament is helping promote this charity and helping the kids of America,” said Davydenko in between loading one of the trucks.
Feed The Children is an essential partner to the national, state and local organizations it works with. Feed The Children reaches 50,000 partner agencies made up of feed centers, homeless shelters, churches and other charitable organizations that depend on it to help provide food and other necessities to the children and families most in need in their communities.
Tournament Director Butch Buchholz commented “We at the Sony Ericsson Open have received tremendous support over the years from the South Florida community and this is an opportunity for us to give something back."
Davydenko will take on Thailand’s Danai Udomchoke or Germany’s Simon Greul in his opening round match on Friday or Saturday.
06-09-2007, 08:17 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Mother Russia Babay
Re: Interviews and Articles
An interview with Nikolay Davydenko - Friday, June 8, 2007
Q. It was very close today. Do you feel any big frustration?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: I feel more like, it was, how I say, it was pretty tough match. It was physically tough and mentally. Because we both play fast tennis, and he played fast, I tried to play fast. But I know I have not enough power for all match, that was. And important points, if he get like, you know, if he have important points, he have more concentration and just he tried to finish in this one. He tried to win.
And by my important points, I'm losing. So not always, but more. Today was many points, important points I'm losing. That was the match was close, but close not for me, for him. That was like he won.
Q. Does it leave you wondering what you have to do to beat him? You had a lead in all three sets, and he just somehow manages, even when he's not playing that great, to come up with the victory.
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Yeah, like I get in second set, I serve for the set, in the first set. And first set, I was at break chance, and like, I have break, and like my serve.
But in some different, like, games, or some, like, one point by 4-3, he just broke me in the first set. He did something. He changed tennis, little bit changing, and I was surprising. And it was tough for me. Because he was always play top spin and won, just few points he start to play slice, and returning slice, short points to, like, and I need to move more, and, like, I did mistakes.
And that was he broke me in the first set, mentally a little bit. And this was pretty tough to, you know, come back and play the same good, like baseline in the second and third set.
Q. What did you think when he shot his incredible ace with second serve at 5-5 in the tiebreak?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Lucky. It was lucky, because good kick top spin, but to the line and from the lines bring ball fast, you know. That was the ace. If he was not on the line, I would have more chance, you know, to returning.
Q. Despite losing, does it give you some encouragement, because you played him really tough and close, probably better than maybe the previous outings?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: No, today match, for me, from my side, I proved more like how I can play, like, against Federer. I did today well. Like normally with these points what I did today, play fast, and I think it was good way. But it's not enough. This was -- I did -- I was tired. I lose my concentration in some important point, and I losing games and I'm losing sets. That was in every time what I was starting, you know, to just normal.
Like, if everybody see you, I just only need win my serve, and I can win set, you know, match. But I didn't. This was -- yeah, in important points, I think, was not for -- I don't speak about for all match, I speak for few points, you know, close, where I can win match.
Q. Can you talk about the beginning of the match, because you were so faster? It was possible to go on two sets like this? Three sets like this?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Maybe I did mistake. I was starting to play fast from my serve and returning. It was -- I also fighting in return. It was all time I have. I always changing the return, winning return by first set. And I losing so much power. And that was with this one.
And in the second set, I was already more tired. I need to know how I need to use my power longer, not just for one set. And then, like, didn't play any -- have no chance, you know, to play second or third set. Yeah, this is -- yeah. I would say I have power, but not enough. Normally, I need to get more.
Q. You spoke about how Roger was able to change his game. Is that one of his best strengths, and is he the best in the sport at changing his game plan and at switching tactics?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Yeah. Normally, a good player, very good players always changing something in like tactic. And he have, in important points, like, he have last match point, and he did, you know, returning slice shot. It was already, you know, interesting, because he tried to do something different. If he have no chance to play like this, he changing something, like make slice, or different point. This was -- yeah, that's why he is No. 1.
And if I have chance by break him, like Love-40, and he make three aces, you know, so good concentration by first serve, and always doing a kick, good kick to the lines, and I have no chance to returning. Yeah, he is, like, good player.
Q. So it's difficult just to keep up with him?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: It's not like -- yes. Like, I play, and, like, we always play from baseline, try to make winners. And Roger have, like, Love-40, and come in, only make serve, didn't lose so much power. And like, still, you know, winning games with the serve, just with serve. This is very good.
Q. Did you feel that you made him, you made -- Federer looked like he struggled, he struggled today? And do you take some comfort that at least you made him struggle? You weren't rolled over 6-2, 6-2, 6-1. It was a really, really tough match. Does that give you some kind of encouragement?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: I was coming to the match, not like losing 6-2, 6-2, 6-1, yeah. I was trying to make my game, and I did. I just try to play what I like to do. I beginning play fast, and I was try to play more faster. But if I losing my power, I try to do better and better, but I can't. You know, how possible, you know, if you're tired. You're losing concentration. You're losing power. And you stay on the court, you think, Now what I need to do?
You play against a guy who play fast, but you have no power, you cannot run right-left. Then you try to change something, but, you know, better just go from the court, like, stop match.
But, yeah, that was important, yeah. Maybe I am not so strong enough. I need to be more stronger. I'll try (smiling).
Q. Some players start to get angry, they start to crash their racquets and swear, and, you know, whatever. But Federer keeps calm. Does that get to you as a player, that you just don't know what he's thinking or what he's going to do?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Not only is he good mentally concentration for every point, this was -- he's still quiet, you know, on the court. But in important point, he have more concentration. He just try to win this point. If not, he tries next one.
It was -- yeah, this way what he play always, is I think the best way for the tennis, for winning matches, like, always concentration and be quiet on the court.
Q. Did you feel any trouble with your back today?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: How you know? I have trouble already many days ago, but, you know, it's like if you're already running on the court and you're tired, you know, then you have some little bit problem, you're painful everywhere. You know, yeah, some painful. But I don't want to say now I'm losing because I have back pain, foot pain, knee pain, everything pain. Everybody has is painful. But you need to play, and you need to stand, you know, on the court and try to win matches. Doesn't matter what you're feeling.
08-09-2007, 11:29 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Mother Russia Babay
Re: Interviews and Articles
N. DAVYDENKO/J. Nieminen
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO INTERVIEW
Q. How was your foot today?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: It's better because we get good protection here for the match.
Q. What kind of thing?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: It's like I make before match physio, ATP physio, make like don't feel so much pressure of the ‑ how you say ‑ finger ‑‑ toes, yeah.
Q. Is it a blister, a cut, a bruise?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: No, I have stress factory (sic). Make MRI in the clinic.
Q. How close were you to not playing today?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: It's was should be decide ATP doctor and here ATP physio after like, say, the examination.
Q. How does it feel now after the match?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Winning match feel good.
Q. Is it an injury that will need you to take some time off at some stage?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Normally I don't know how is it bad because doctor don't say me anything if I can or not play. If I have no pain, I can play. If I have pain, I need to examine again to be more like go to the doctors, see again.
Q. What is your reaction to the whole thing that came out last week?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Disappointment, because like I'm top player and, like, people talking not only like, say, in Russia, in my country, is talking everywhere in the world.
Is pretty tough for me, get more pressure now for this tournament. Mentally, it's pretty tough.
Q. What has the reaction been from other players? Have they been supportive towards you?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: I don't know. I come here and, like, is still the same by the other players. I don't see any different between what's before and now.
Q. How did you first hear about it? How did it come to your ears?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Next day, Friday, I come to Germany to do examination for my foot, and that's what I was surprising.
Q. You read it in the newspaper or somebody called you?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: My manager call me for next day.
Q. Have you been interviewed by anybody from the ATP or from the betting agency about the situation?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: No, not yet.
Q. How has it affected your preparation for this tournament?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Uhm, normally after my injury I didn't know how I can good preparation for here, for Montréal, because for me was first very important to be examination my injury and then to play. I just was don't think about winning today or not, just try to play. If I can finish match, it's good. If not, okay.
Just was testing for first match.
Q. You said it was disappointing for this story to break. Did it affect your preparation at all? Was it a distraction?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Yes. Like say, like you feeling already like coming for this week, you know you have little bit pressure from press like, you know, try somebody to find you, try to make some question about what's happening there. That's was for me pretty tough in this moment.
Q. Have these last couple months been probably the most stressful in your career, the most trying period?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: I think yes. After Wimbledon I didn't win no match. Every week I try to win matches. I try to make result. And like losing three weeks in a row first round is also pretty tough for me. That's was I losing my confidence also.
Q. What is your reaction in general to the idea that somebody would throw a match?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Normally I don't know. I was before already injury before my match. But normally I was ‑‑ it's so surprising. Like who can know I can be injury and I can retired in my match?
Q. Not just you yourself. But in general, in the sport, is it a surprise to you to hear that people might be making money from players with injuries, losing deliberately?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: I think now tennis is most popular because you have singles player. It's not like team, like soccer or basketball, something different. But I know like maybe it's different business to make easy money. That's was tough to say something about this.
Q. Some players have said they've received phone calls from people offering money to throw a match. Have you ever received a phone call like that?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Nobody know my numbers. Also normally ATP call only to my manager or to my brother. Nobody from Russian Federation know my numbers also. Because numbers have only private people, like my family or my manager, my brother. That's it.
Before my number get many press. That's what I really change in last year like this. I don't want to be somebody call to me and make some questions about match or something like this. Try to get in hotel, just calling me in my room, but my wife always by phone (smiling).
Q. You've never been in contact with anyone like this?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Normally, no.
Q. How would you explain it?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Explain?
Q. There seemed to be a lot of betting right during the match, so it was very unusual. Do you know how or why that would happen?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Normally who knows if like injury to be? Only me and my wife already before tournament. That's was I already didn't know if I can finish first match there and how I get my painful there, that's it.
I start to play. If I feel okay, if I can finish match, is good for me. I try to win. If I cannot finish match, if I losing match already, I cannot finish, I am retired. That's was I don't know how can people know about, you know, my injury.
Okay, maybe by practicing see or, you know, physio know. But I don't know who know else I was injury in this moment.
THE MODERATOR: Do we have further questions about today's match or his next round?
Q. Along that line, considering what you've gone through, what does that say about yourself, that you were able to get through a pretty difficult match?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: I would say I'm professional player. I try to preparation for every match. Doesn't matter what's happening in, you know, my life.
Normally it's pretty tough. You know, it's something in your inside happening. But for me now in this moment, try to make some result here in Montréal because I need to get points for Shanghai. If I do some well result, I can finish also top 10 this year. It's for me very important.
Q. Did you find it at all unusual you were playing on such a small court, being that you're a high‑ranked player, considering everything that's gone on?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: That's was is changing. I was lucky, like Blake retired, changing courts. My brother come to ATP say, Please changing from 5 to 9, because court is little bit different between 5 and 9. It was we have time for like finishing second set. We spoke with Nieminen. Okay, we can play Court 9.
But lot of matches of center court, Court 1. I don't know, maybe tomorrow play Court 1 (smiling).
Q. Did you have to get a lawyer just to help you?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Normally nobody tell about me, you know. That's was with company don't say I person who did this thing. If this company, you know, Betfair or something like this, say I'm person who did this, then I do lawyers, then I do against this company. But I don't see with reason now somebody get against me something. That's was for this reason I don't need lawyers.
Q. Is there any way that you can think of to stop this kind of thing happening?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Now we spoke about ATP and we try for in the future to protect me, you know, about this reason. Last year I losing many tournaments also first round. Now also happening because I play 30 tournaments in a year. Last year I lose 10 tournaments first round, and also sometimes I'm injury, I'm retired in the match.
That's what in the future I would like, you know, somebody to protect me from all these reasons or something like this that's happening.
Q. What's the difference in the courts, from 5 to 9? Why did your brother say the court was different?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Because I was practicing in Court 2, 6 and 5. 5 was for me like two times practicing. I say, This is different, like pretty fast court. Ball spring very fast. I say I feel is different between Court 2 or Court 6 and 5. I say is pretty tough to play rally.
And then I know for next day, I play Court 5, I was laughing. I say, Only this court is pretty tough for me, very bad for me, and I play of Court 5
08-17-2007, 07:44 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Mother Russia Babay
Re: Interviews and Articles
August 15, 2007
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Second set he saved two match points and forced a tiebreak. Did you feel like he was playing better, or did you feel like your game was slipping a little bit?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: No. Maybe I was a little bit nervous. Like 6 4 on my serve and I try maybe just to make one first serve fast and finishing, but it didn't helping. He returning well second serve and I was feeling a little bit, okay, like how I say nervous by baseline and losing baseline both always. He play really better baseline and I didn't control well in tiebreak and I losing.
Q. How important is this week do you think to just get the focus back on your tennis, the on court stuff?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: For me, important I think like now all Masters Series what I did in Montreal quarterfinal and here, because I don't need defend now points. Now I have some points like I'm very happy to get points here like for Shanghai also, and I also need to defend US Open semifinal. Every point very important for me in the moment.
Q. Has it been harder to focus on tennis since what happened, or not really?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Normally it was disappoint in Montreal. It was very tough over there, because after the tournament they come. But now I played all week here and now it's quiet. For me it's very nice to really concentration on the tennis, like do the same job what I did before and like play every match just concentration just for tennis.
Q. How hard was it last week to do that?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: I don't know, like how explain. Especially just mentally, very tough was mentally. But I was playing good, that's why's I make like winning two matches there. I was already happy in Montreal, how good I did.
Q. Are you hopeful the investigation will be over soon so the people won't talk about it anymore and you'll be cleared?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: It would be good if like already was now it's quiet and like and nobody talk about it and I'm already happy. I don't know. We're in America. It's different country. I think it should be okay.
Q. When you look at today, six of the top seeds lost. How does that open up the draw for the remaining guys like yourself?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: It's pretty tough to play here really. Like because from Montreal coming here it's very hot and ball fly more faster and not so good control from the racquet. Some guys like who play before very well here, he still play well.
Because like if you did one, you know, time winning like final winning like Roddick, feeling great here, make good serve and playing well from baseline, he do good job.
Some guys cannot play very well here. It's pretty tough. Every match is very tough. Doesn't matter if you winning one round you can lose in second. Because it's like some guys if very feeling good here baseline and serve then can win. That's why I think many guys is losing here.
Q. How many days have you been able to practice? When did you get here?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: I coming Sunday, Monday. Have two days before my match like no, start Monday, Tuesday. Like three days I have prepare here.
Q. Was that enough time, do you think, to get used to the courts?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: It's pretty tough to see like how many days you need to here prepare, because it's only I thinking in America very fast. I don't know why, but control is pretty tough. Difficult to control ball here.
Q. How did you feel you played today then against Ginepri?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: I was okay, Ginepri play also did many mistake from first set and second. But we play both not so great tennis, but I would say did win guy who make more concentration, put ball on the court, do not so much mistake. It's nothing like make special great tennis.
Q. Be consistent.
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Yeah. Just play, like do less mistake you won match.
Q. How is the toe injury? How is your toe? Does it feel better?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Toe, you know, it's interesting thing, because ATP knows already and doctor of ATP knows I have stress fracture in the bones, and it's still stress fracture. I send also CD with MRI to Germany and doctor say it's also the same, what everybody find.
I did good protection in Montreal. Like always I do some I have no, like how to say, not so much pressure in the toes. That's what I have no pain. And always if I keep it like this to play and have no pressure still no pain, but it's still stress fracture.
Q. So do you have something in your shoe to keep the pressure off of it?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Yes. It's not in the shoes, it's like, how do you say in English?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Yeah, orthopedics. That's what it is. I have something there to protect me from the pain really, like pain relief.
Q. As far as that investigation goes, is the ATP giving you updates, or how are you communicating with them?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: I don't know. It's not with me now. It's only my manager. I just like try my I'm like still to play tennis. I don't know anything now in the moment. I don't want to know also in this moment, that's why's I was only concentration tennis.
02-18-2008, 12:50 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Mother Russia Babay
Re: Interviews and Articles
An email conversation with Nikolay Davydenko: 'Last season I was depressed. I wanted to quit tennis'
Coping with allegations over betting; avoiding Federer in Grand Slam semis; preparing for popular Rotterdam event
By Paul Newman
Monday, 18 February 2008
You have a reputation for playing more tournaments than most players. How do you stay so fit?
I've always played a lot. I've always liked to travel and be at tournaments. I became very fit by playing so many matches. But as I get older I need to reduce my tournaments so that I can keep clear of injuries and be at my peak for the biggest events.
What is your favourite tournament?
Moscow, because I won it three times!
What do you like about the ABN AMRO event in Rotterdam, where you are playing this week?
It's very well organised, which is important to us players. It makes our lives easy, so we can concentrate on tennis. The tournament director of the ABN AMRO is Richard Krajicek, the former Wimbledon champion, and he knows what the players like and don't like. I like the city of Rotterdam a lot. It's a good place to go shopping with my wife.
You have finished in the world's top five three years in a row but have not made a Grand Slam final. How can you break through?
A better draw would help! I reached so many Grand Slam semi-finals and then played Roger Federer. I could also improve my serve and physique.
Can Andy Murray win a Grand Slam tournament?
Murray definitely has a chance. He still has to learn a lot to win Grand Slams because they are very special, but he definitely has the potential.
What has been the best moment of your career so far?
Helping Russia win the 2006 Davis Cup was a great moment, and reaching four Grand Slam semi-finals was good for me individually.
How much has your life changed since the Association of Tennis Professionals started investigating irregular betting patterns involving your match against Martin Vassallo Arguello in Sopot in Poland last July?
I went through a serious depression because I was totally wrong-footed by the announcement. I didn't do anything, I didn't even know anything about it and then everywhere I went nobody asked me about tennis any more. I became famous in a way I didn't like and didn't understand. It drove me into a depression, especially at the end of last year when I was fined in St Petersburg. They wrongly said that I wasn't trying. In the end they had to admit they were wrong and lifted the fine, but I was shocked and crying in the locker room. I was having trouble with my serve, but I was trying my best, as I always do. It became a big effort even to go to the end-of-year tournament in Shanghai because of all this. It should have been a great moment, but I didn't really want to go any more.
When you retired with a foot injury against Vassallo Arguello some people made a lot of money by betting on him to win, even after he had lost the first set. You have denied any involvement in betting and denied any knowledge of why people were betting on you to lose. Do you think certain people must have known you were injured?
These are all assumptions and guesses and I don't want to speculate. I can only say what I know, which is that I told the physio on the court during the match that I was injured. I asked him what I should do, because I didn't want to risk serious injury. He said I should try to continue if I could, and so I did. That is all I know.
Do you think the ATP has been fair during its investigation?
No. From the first moment I felt isolated and left on my own to deal with everything. I felt I deserved better protection from the ATP.
Did the ATP request the telephone records of yourself, your wife and your brother (who is your coach)? Have they received them?
Yes, they did. I gave my telephone records, but there is still not a decision over whether my wife and brother are obliged to give theirs. Whatever I have to do legally I will, but I will not do something that is not legal and the privacy laws are very strict.
How much has the attention affected your tennis?
At the end of last season I was very depressed and wanted to quit tennis. My brother, wife and manager convinced me that I am only 26, that I have good years ahead, that I haven't achieved yet what I always wanted – to win a Grand Slam tournament – and that I shouldn't let something stupid like this, which is not my fault and [is] out of my hands, stop me.
Has the investigation damaged you financially?
I didn't lose contracts, but I was close to signing a badge deal which is now on hold until the final decision is made. At the start, a lot of tournaments where I would be a marquee player became insecure about the situation, but that problem is solved because everyone who knows me in tennis realised I had done nothing wrong.
Since the controversy broke, a number of players have said they have been approached in the past by people wanting to fix matches. Are you surprised?
I was very surprised because I have never been approached. What surprised me most is why they did not report them when they were approached. They should have done. Why did they wait until this Sopot situation?
Three Italian players, Potito Starace, Alessio Di Mauro and Daniele Bracciali, have been suspended for placing bets on matches. Have they been made scapegoats?
It's not my position to make a judgement. It seems they made only little bets, but they were stupid to do it.
Do you think there is a problem with match-fixing in tennis?
No, certainly not at the top of the game. The top players want to win every match and there is a lot of reward for doing so. There is no motivation for a top player to not want to win matches because you can make a lot at the top by winning. At the lower level I cannot say because it is many years since I played there, but I have never been approached.
Are the authorities fighting corruption in the right way?
I don't actually know what they are doing, so I cannot comment. But I think the easiest thing would be to ban all betting on tennis.
Nikolay Davydenko will play in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, which starts today. The ABN AMRO event is in its 35th year and will also feature Rafael Nadal, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. For more information go to www.abnamrowtt.nl
Date of birth 2 June 1981 Born Severodonetsk, Ukraine
Height 5ft 10in
Turned professional 1999
Plays Right-handed; two-handed backhand
Career earnings $7,390,873 (£3,768,754)
Career record, singles Won 268; Lost 194.
Career titles 11.
Highest ranking No 3 (6 November 2006)
Grand Slam record
Australian Open QF (2005, 2006, 2007) 4R (2008)
French Open SF (2005, 2007)
Wimbledon 4R (2007)
US Open SF (2006, 2007)
11-02-2008, 02:17 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Re: Interviews and Articles
Nikolay Davydenko: I cried in locker room but I did nothing wrong
Being accused of throwing matches left the Russian an emotional wreck on the brink of quitting. He has bouts of depression and can't lose the betting stigma
By Paul Newman
Sunday, 26 October 2008
The ATP found no evidence against Davydenko but the former world No 3 continues to struggle on court and the betting row is an issue the world will never let him forget
Modern tennis professionals do not get many chances to spend time in their own country, and when they do it is usually an opportunity to be relished. However, do not try telling Nikolay Davydenko about the joys of the St Petersburg Open, where he was playing last week.
On Wednesday, the 27-year-old Russian announced his withdrawal from the tournament after suffering a wrist injury in his first match. If the pain was a concern as he looked ahead to his final two events of the year, this week's Paris Masters and next month's Tennis Masters Cup, at least it bore no relation to the hurt he felt at the same tournament 12 months ago.
"That was my worst moment," Davydenko said as he reflected on a bizarre episode in what has been an extraordinary past 15 months for the world No 6. Already at the epicentre of the biggest betting controversy in tennis history (Betfair, the online betting exchange, voided all wagers on his match against Argentina's Martin Vassallo Arguello in Poland last August because of highly unusual betting patterns), Davydenko was warned by the umpire in St Petersburg for not trying during his three-sets defeat by Marin Cilic, in which he served 10 double faults. The following day he was fined $2,000 (£1,234) by the Association of Tennis Professionals.
The punishment was rescinded later, but at the time it felt like the world was caving in on Davydenko, who had been troubled by an elbow injury. "I was shocked and crying in the locker room," he recalled. "I was having trouble with my serve, but I was tryingmy best, as I always do."
More misery followed a week later at the Paris Masters. During his straight-sets defeat by Marcos Baghdatis, which included 10 more double faults, Davydenko was instructed to "serve like me" by the umpire, who told him to "try your best".
While the events of last autumn were the lowest points for Davydenko – he became so depressed that he even contemplated retirement – you wonder whether the long-term effects of this drawn-out saga will be just as damaging. The ATP announced last month, more than a year after the match at the centre of the controversy, that they had concluded their inquiry, having found "no evidence of a violation of its rules by either Mr Arguello or Mr Davydenko or anyone else associated with the match", but there is little sign yet of an upturn in his on-court fortunes.
By the standards of a player who was ranked No 3 in the world two years ago and reached four semi-finals and four quarter-finals in a run of 10 Grand Slam tournaments ending with last year's US Open, Davydenko has had an indifferent season. Although he won the Masters Series tournament in Miami, he has not gone beyond the fourth round of a Grand Slam event this year.
In conversation, the Russian does not sound like a man who has had the weight of the world lifted off his shoulders. He agrees to talk about the betting controversy, but his eyes have the resigned look of someone who senses this is an issue the world will never let him forget. How did he feel about the end of the investigation? "I feel happy because I did nothing wrong and I gave the ATP everything they needed from me. They asked for my telephone records and I gave them to them. I'm really happy that they found nothing wrong as far as the players were concerned. The investigation went on for more than a year. I always wanted the investigation to show that tennis is a good, clean sport."
He added: "It's not only me they've been investigating over the last year. They've been investigating every player. And they haven't found anything. I just don't think it's possible for people inside tennis to gamble.
"Outside – for fans or whoever – it's different. In the past I can remember some guys coming up to me after I lost a match in the first round in Umag [in Croatia] and saying: 'I put money on you to win and you lost. What's happening?' It was some Russian guy. I said: 'I don't know why you put money on me.' That's happened other times as well."
While the ATP could find no evidence of wrongdoing, the investigation failed to come up with an explanation for the extraordinary sequence of bets on the second-round encounter in Poland. At the time, Davydenko was No 4 in the world and Arguello No 87. Davydenko was the clear favourite, but on Betfair the Russian's odds lengthened, even after he won the first set. Arguello won the second set and Davydenko retired, complaining of a foot injury, when trailing 2-1 in the decider.
Betfair, noting irregular betting patterns, notified the ATP and voided $7 million (£4.3m) in wagers, the first time they had taken such action. It was later reported that nine Betfair account-holders in Russia would have profited by $1.5m, while two others would have made nearly $6m.
As the ATP launched an investigation, other players came forward to claim they had been invited to throw matches. With the controversy snowballing, two former British police officers were appointed to look into the allegations (they found no evidence of corruption but recommended a series of security measures which are being implemented), while Davydenko, who had been one of the most anonymous players ever to break into the world's highest ranks, found himself the focus of media attention.
"From the middle of last year right through to the start of this year I was in the press too much," Davydenko said. "Mentally it was tough for me. There were too many questions from the press and I felt that whenever I was going on court people were looking at me. Now it's different. Everybody knows that I didn't do anything wrong. It's starting to change, though it is a slow process."
The St Petersburg incident left Davydenko an emotional wreck. "I'd suffered an elbow injury in Moscow, which had made me pull out from Madrid the week before," he said. "I also had some problems with it in Paris. That's why I served a lot of double faults. I had problems with my muscles. I completely lost my feeling for my serve.
"If you serve one double fault and you follow it with another you start to get nervous. Then you worry about the next shot and you start to think you should change something. I got warned, but I was playing and fighting from the baseline. It was just the problem with my serve."
Davydenko, who has lived in Germany since he was 15, was relieved to finish the season but the investigation dragged on into 2008, particularly after the Russian's camp questioned the investigators' right to demand the telephone records of his brother, who is his coach, and his wife. The challenge failed, but by that time the records had been destroyed by the German phone company under local data protection laws.
The betting investigation was not Davydenko's only brush with the ATP last year. He was fined in January for claiming that some players had pulled out of a warm-up tournament before the Australian Open because they did not care about the event. Three months later, during a row over the possible downgrading of the clay-court tournaments at Monte Carlo and Hamburg, he made derogatory comments about Etienne de Villiers, the ATP's executive chairman.
Davydenko believes the lengthy Poland investigation may have cost him sponsorship money. "At the time I was No 4 or 5 in the world and maybe I could have got some contracts for shirt logos," he said. "After the investigation everybody wanted to wait because they wanted to see what would happen."
Has he considered suing the ATP? "I don't think I would win," Davydenko said. "The ATP would say that they didn't claim I'd done anything wrong. They would just say that they were conducting an investigation and that they hadn't found anything wrong. I don't think it would be possible either to take any sort of action against Betfair. It's tough to say. I just think that in the future we need to give better protection to players."
So what is Davydenko's explanation for the extraordinary betting on his match in Poland last year? "I know there are people who gamble on matches as they're being played. If you're at the side of the court with a laptop and you have a fast internet connection it can be very interesting for you. Between what's happening live and what goes out on TV you have a few seconds to do something."
Davydenko suspects that someone in the stand might have sparked off the heavy betting against him after realising early on that he had a major physical problem. The Russian later called for the trainer and said he retired in order not to cause himself further damage.
"I think somebody sitting there must have seen something," he said. "Maybe if I said in Russian something like, 'I can't go on any more', people might have heard it. In Poland they understand Russian. Maybe someone heard and decided straightaway to risk money and bet against me."
Match-fixing allegations and tennis betting controversies
1. Betting was suspended on a match between Russia's Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Fernando Vicente in Lyon five years ago following heavy backing for the Spaniard, who won in straight sets.
2. Belgium's Gilles Elseneer said he was approached at Wimbledon three years ago and offered €100,000 [£80,400] to throw his match against Italy's Potito Starace.
3. Paul Goldstein, the veteran American, said he had been asked to influence the outcome of a match within the past three years.
4. A match at Wimbledon two years ago was investigated after Betfair reported substantial betting on Richard Bloomfield to beat Argentina's Carlos Berlocq, ranked 170 places higher than the Briton. Bloomfield won in straight sets. The investigation found no evidence of corruption.
5. Dmitry Tursunov, of Russia, said he was approached twice two years ago with bribery offers.
6. The Frenchman Michael Llodra said last year that he received an anonymous call asking him to "be relaxed" in his next match.
7. Britain's Arvind Parmar said he was offered a bribe to throw a Challenger match.
02-15-2009, 02:55 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Re: Interviews and Articles
Nikolay Davydenko: A Perennial Dark Horse
The Tennis community in B/R has featured articles on Safin, Murray, Federer, Nadal, Tsonga, and Roddick, so I decided that Davydenko had to featured as well.
Nikolay Davydenko is my "all-time" favourite, i.e., from the time I have attuned myself to the sport, second only to Roger Federer.
I have used the words "all-time" because all the other players that I root for depend on my mood and the opponent facing them. I can positively say that after Federer, its Nikolay's game that I connect with.
Davydenko doesn't have Grand Slam count in his kitty nor does he boast of some lethal, awe-inducing arsenal. Some of his shots may not even seem magical, but the manner in which he unleashes them is the point that makes all the difference.
He has been a consistent Top 5 player for quite a few years now, although he never managed to win a Slam. The maximum distance he has managed being the Semi-Finals of Roland Garros and French Open twice.
The last time I saw him play was against Murray at the year end Masters Cup at Shanghai in 2008 where he literally packed off Murray, reaching to his first Masters Cup final in four appearances.
Kolya's game is best in the hard and the clay courts, whereas grass is like a formidable opponent to him. The fact that he hasn't made past the fourth round at Wimbledon stands testimony to that.
Coached by his brother Eduard, Davydenko is a hardcore baseliner with a powerful backhand. His Achilles heel, however is the fact that he has on numerous occasions failed to capture games where he had held the upper hand.
This year, so far he hasn't had a chance to play so far; he withdrew from Chennai Open and consecutively from the Australian Open. In fact he was the only Top 10 male seeded player not to feature in the Asia/Pacific Slam.
On court, Davydenko [from the matches I have seen of him] is not a player prone to emotional outbursts. Although there have been many controversies surrounding him, none of them are because of his temperament on the court.
In a world filled with show stoppers like Murray who make sudden ascendancy to the top bracket or tongue-in cheek Novak Djokovic or enigmas like Federer or intimidating Nadal, Davydenko has carved his own niche.
He remains there, relatively calm and unruffled waiting and waiting for his opportunity; and I as his fan am filled with hope and anticipation that one day, he will win a Slam and that is why to me he presents himself as a "Dark Horse" who may strike when it is least expected of him.
Now his hand is on your shoulder
Never mind I'll remember you this,
I'll remember you this way
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