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An email conversation with Nikolay Davydenko: 'Last season I was depressed. I wanted to quit tennis'
By Paul Newman

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.
 
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Thanks tennizen. I would have liked a few more questions about Davydenko away from the fixing, but obviously everyone wants to hear about it so he'll usually be asked.
 

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Good interview.

But well, did anyone really expect him to say, "yes, I bet, I fix, and the names of Russian mafia members who stand behind it are (...)"

He needs to say something.
 

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Thanks for posting the interview. Good to hear his side rather than all the garbage and hate spewed on GM.
 

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An email conversation with Nikolay Davydenko: 'Last season I went too far with my fixes´By Deivid23

You have a reputation for playing more tournaments than most players. How do you stay so fit?

Easy, the more tourneys I play, the better chances I get to tank 2 or 3 matches and it won´t hurt my ranking

What is your favourite tournament?

Sopot. No brainer

What do you like about the ABN AMRO event in Rotterdam, where you are playing this week?

I left clear enough in the past I couldn´t care less about small tourneys when I said some of them I had played in were shit so let me read this piece of paper I have in my pocket *takes out the paper and reads*

"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."

Next question, please

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?

If I somehow can get Roger losing to a no-name finally. Could u imagine the odds?

Can Andy Murray win a Grand Slam tournament?

Don´t get me started with this Murray, he knows I´m a bad gambler and takes the piss off at me :mad:

What has been the best moment of your career so far?

That 6-1 1-0 retirement against Sargsian, we made a killing! Brilliant move, wasn´t it?

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?

Last season I went too far with my fixes but I feel now I´m a much better actor, look: "I´m innocent, I don´t know what you´re talking about yada yada...". De Niro can´t lace my shoes these days if u ask me


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?

lol. What do u think, tool?

Do you think the ATP has been fair during its investigation?

:haha: Of course :angel:

Did the ATP request the telephone records of yourself, your wife and your brother (who is your coach)? Have they received them?

U kidding me? No way in hell.

How much has the attention affected your tennis?

Bollocks, I was just playing an Oscar-deserving role

Has the investigation damaged you financially?

Fuck yes. I can´t bet online now, at least for a few years. Maybe I will try poker like my friend Evgeny did after that match against Vicente-Fibla.

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?

Sure lol

Three Italian players, Potito Starace, Alessio Di Mauro and Daniele Bracciali, have been suspended for placing bets on matches. Have they been made scapegoats?

Nope, they´re just crap punters. Next q please.

Do you think there is a problem with match-fixing in tennis?

Not really, I´ve never lost a bet in those matches :cool:

Are the authorities fighting corruption in the right way?

Yes, I think they should punish more lower ranked players who bet 5€ in the Champions League final. It will definetely help :wavey:
 

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Great one Deivid :lol: Actually the infamous Sargis match looked so similar to the Vassalo-Arguello match, Davydenko then proceeded to play comfortably in DC against France after his "injury" retirement.
 

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He feels depressed of this...
What should have Canas said then...
 

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Thanks I like Nik very much, I try to base my style on his.
 
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