A Rare Russian Male Tennis Star: Nikolay Davydenko

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leon taylor

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  • A Rare Russian Male Tennis Star: Nikolay Davydenko

A Rare Russian Male Tennis Star: Nikolay Davydenko

The Hamburg Open, which is being played in Germany will see Russian Nikolay Davydenko try to regain some of his lost glory as he tries to regain his top-five position in the world of tennis.

From a country which produces it's fair share of female tennis stars, Davydenko is an anomaly in that he's one of relatively few Russian men to achieve notoriety in the sport.

But for Davydenko, the Open might be a chance to attempt to capture some of his old form. The Hamburg Open was downgraded to a third-tier tournament, which both means Davydenko will be competing for a lesser prize, but it also means he'll have a shot at reclaiming some positive attention amongst a weaker field after having been recently upset in Stuttgart.

Born in 1981, he was a consistent member of the World’s Top 5 for a number of years in the mid 2000s. Despite being such a steady player, he’s not been able to win a single major in his career so far and three Masters Series titles along with one Tennis Masters Cup win in 2009 remain his best performances on tour till date.

Style Of Play..
Davydenko, nicknamed ‘Kolya’ back home in Russia, has a strong baseline-centric game with powerful shots especially off his two-handed backhand that tend to trouble the best in business. With his lethal two handed backhand, Davydenko comfortably hits the ball down the line, or cross-court with extreme angles. Like most players, he has his share of weakness and his inability to play solidly at the net has often left him found wanting on the faster surfaces. No surprise then that Wimbledon remains the only Grand Slam in which he’s yet to even make a quarterfinal appearance in nine attempts.

Performance At Other Majors
His performance at other majors has been only slightly better. The Russian is yet to contest a Grand Slam final but has reached the semi-final on four occasions, twice each at the French and US Open. More often than not, its been Roger Federer who stopped him from making it to the final.

Record Against Federer
His record against the former World no. 1 was a very embarrassing one until recently. At one point in time, Davydenko had lost each of the 12 matches that the two had contested. It was only in the semi-final of the prestigious Tennis Masters Cup in 2009 that he finally defeated Federer. He’d later beat Federer again, this time in straight sets at the Qatar Open in 2010.

Record Against Nadal
Despite his overall poor record against Federer, Davydenko curiously has a winning record against the Swiss’ no. 1 nemesis, Rafael Nadal. The Russian has a 5-4 advantage against the much younger Spanish player having defeated at crucial stages of Masters Series tournaments.

Consistent Resident Of The Top 5 Club…
His poor record at the Grand Slams notwithstanding, Nikolay Davydenko was a consistent resident of the World’s Top 5 for a five straight years between 2005 and 2008. A lot of credit for that could be attributed to his tendency to play a lot of tournaments during the year which always helped him accumulate the required number of points. He was actually nicknamed the ‘Iron Man’ for his record to consistently feature in the maximum number of tournaments in a calendar year.

Even in 2009, he finished the year at no. 6, marking the fifth consecutive year in which he had finished a season inside the Top 10.

Most Important Win Of The Career, Tennis Masters Cup, 2009…
Despite finished that year outside the Top 5 for the first time since 2005, in many ways 2009 will remain the most significant season for Davydenko. Not only did he record his first win over Federer in the Tennis Masters Cup held at London, but he also went onto win the prestigious event. In a one-sided final, he defeated a heavily fatigued Juan Martin Del Potro and thereby becoming the first Russian to win the event.

Other Important Wins…
In addition to that win, Davydenko also has three other Masters Series titles; he won at Paris in 2006, at Miami in 2008 and then he’d also won at Shanghai in 2009, just a month before his win at London. Significantly, he defeated Nadal in two of those three finals, both in straight sets.


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