Nikolay Vladimirovich Davydenko (Николай Владимирович Давыденко; born June 2, 1981 in Severodonetsk, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union) is a Russian tennis player. He is, as of August 11, 2008, the top ranked male player for Russia, 5th in the world, and the winner of fourteen ATP singles titles.
Davydenko's best result in a Grand Slam tournament has been reaching the semi-finals, which he has done on four occasions - twice each at the French Open and the U.S. Open.
Years later, Davydenko explained his peripatetic youth, "I stayed 4 years in Russia. Eduard worked as a tennis coach for kids and we practiced together. He pushed me pretty hard. At 15 we left for Germany. A Russian who lived there convinced Eduard it would be better for me. In Europe I could play more tournaments and earn more money than in Russia."
Davydenko was granted Russian citizenship in 1999 at the age of 18, and has represented Russia ever since. In 2007 he applied for Austrian citizenship (so as to obtain a dual citizenship), and has also previously applied for German citizenship.
Before the Davis Cup in 2006, Davydenko married his girlfriend and traveling companion of three years, named Irina. He currently resides in Volgograd, Russia.
Davydenko turned professional in 1999. In 2000, he played mainly on the Futures Tour where he captured one title and reached three finals. He made his ATP debut at Amsterdam, reaching the semi-final. Later in August, he won his first Challenger title in Monchengladbach.
In 2001, Davydenko made his Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open, where he made it to the 2nd round before losing to former World No. 1, Patrick Rafter in 4 sets. This performance captured the public eye of his talent and ability. Later in February, he injured his lower back in Dallas and subsequently was out for six weeks. After the injury, he came back to win two Challenger titles in Ulm and Istanbul. He finished the season with a quarter-final in Basel.
In 2002, Davydenko continued to play on both the ATP Tour and Challenger events. It was a steady year with quarter-final appearances in Bastad and Vienna. During the year he captured his fourth Challenger title in Szczecin.
Davydenko made huge strides on the ATP Tour in 2003. He opened the season with his first ATP title in Adelaide defeating Kristof Vliegen in the final. A few months later, he captured his second tour title in Estoril on clay beating Agustin Calleri. His season was backed up with solid performances on clay in Barcelona and St. Pölten, reaching the quarter final and final respectively. After a solid year, Davydenko finished in the top 50 for the first time in his career.
His progress continued in 2004, capturing two more titles for the second consecutive year. After a slow start to season, a quarter final in the Monte Carlo Masters kicked off a 10-2 matches run. A week later he won in Munich for his third title. Backed up his win by reaching the semi-final in Stuttgart losing to Guillermo Cañas. In October, he captured his first home soil victory in Moscow by winning both the singles and doubles (partnering Igor Andreev). Finished the season in the top 30 for the first time.
In 2005, began the season by reaching the quarter-final for the first time in a Grand Slam at the Australian Open. During the clay season, captured his fifth career title in St. Pölten beating home favourite, Jurgen Melzer. Continued his solid form by reaching the semi-finals of Hamburg Masters and his first Grand Slam at the French Open. There was a controversy after the French Open because he lost to Mariano Puerta in 5 close sets 3–6 7–5 6–2 4–6 4–6, who was later caught and banned for doping. He reached the top 10 for the first time after the French Open. Closed out the year by reaching the quarter-finals at the Cincinnati Masters and the Paris Masters. After a great season, allowed him to qualified Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai for the first time and reached the semi-finals losing to David Nalbandian. Finished the year as the No. 1 Russian and world No. 5.
After his rapid rise into the top 5 in 2005, Davydenko continued to stay in the top 5 for 2006. Repeated his quarter-final appearance at the Australian Open, losing to Roger Federer in 4 tight sets, 4–6 6–3 6–7(7) 6–7(5). He had another solid clay court season, reaching the final in Estoril and quarter final at the Hamburg Masters. Defended his title in Pöertschach and reached the quarter-final at the French Open for the second year. His form continued after an early loss at Wimbledon with wins in Sopot and his first American soil win in New Haven. After the win on the hardcourt season, he reached his second Grand Slam semi-final at the U.S. Open, losing to Roger Federer. Finished the season with a win in Moscow and his first career TMS title in Paris. After getting married, Davydenko helped Russia win the Davis Cup against Argentina. He reached a career high ranking of No. 3 which he finished on for the year.
2007 started with another quarter-final appearance at the Australian Open for the third consecutive year. He was slow to find his form on clay court season; but found his form at the Rome Masters, losing in the semi-final to the "King of Clay", Rafael Nadal in an enthralling match 6–7, 7–6, 4–6. His good form continued, and he reached semi-final for the second time at the French Open, losing to Roger Federer again 5–7, 6–7, 6–7. At Wimbledon, he surprised the tennis world by reaching the 4th round on his least preferred surface. Moving to the hard court season in the US, Davydenko had strong showings in Canada Masters and Cincinnati Masters, reaching the quarter-final and semi-final respectively. Davydenko then reached the semi-final of the U.S. Open for the second consecutive year before losing to Roger Federer 5–7, 1–6, 5–7. He won his eleventh career title in Moscow, defeating Paul-Henri Mathieu. Davydenko ended the year ranked No. 4 and in the top 5 for the third straight year.
Davydenko started 2008 at the Australian Open where he was seeded fourth. He won his first three matches in straight sets, but in the fourth round he lost to countryman Mikhail Youzhny 6-7, 3-6, 1-6. In Dubai, he reached the semi-final losing to Feliciano Lopez in three sets. He then went on to win his biggest career title to date at the Miami Masters. On the route to the win he defeated Andy Roddick in the semi-final and Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-2 in the final to win his second ATP Masters Series title. His win over Roddick in the semi-final was his first victory over the American in six attempts while his win over Nadal was his first in three attempts.
Davydenko then began the European clay court season with another final appearance in his next tournament, the Estoril Open in Portugal where he met world number 1, Roger Federer in the final. In the second set of the final, while trailing Federer, 6-7 (5), 2-1, Davydenko retired hurt with a left leg injury. He then reached the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters. He won his thirteenth career title in Pöertschach defeating Juan Monaco 6-2, 2-6 6-2. After a disappointing French Open, Davydenko went on to win in Warsaw defeating Tommy Robredo 6-3, 6-3 in the final. He lost in the fourth round of the US Open to qualifier Gilles Müller 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(10) breaking his streak of two straight semis at the Open.
Davydenko's main weaknesses are his volleys, lack of variation, serve, and inability to close matches. His volleys are not consistent as his groundstrokes, though he does have one of the best swinging volleys on Tour. Many tennis analysts have also criticised Davydenko for lacking variation in his game due to the fact he mainly plays from the baseline with his consistent groundstrokes. In recent years, he has varied his game by employing the slice and moving into the net more often. His serve is consistent, but it also lacks power. Finally, Davydenko has lost numerous important matches after taking a lead. This was evident during the 2006 Tennis Masters Cup against James Blake and Rafael Nadal where he won the first sets and had leads in the second but lost. Again, his inability to close matches against top players out was shown against Federer at the Australian Open in 2006 and the French Open in 2007. In the Australian Open, he had three set points in the second to go up 2 sets to 1, but lost the set and eventually the match. In the French Open, he had leads in all three sets but ended up losing each one.
Tennis fans have nicknamed Davydenko "Kolya", the Russian nickname for Nikolay. He has also been called "Iron Man" because he plays in more tournaments per year than any other player, just like fellow Russian and former World No. 1 Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Another nickname is "The Machine" due to his aggressive, consistent style of play.
The ATP launched an investgation, related to match-fixing, of Davydenko's match against Martin Vassallo Arguello in Sopot of 2 August 2007, after several large bets were placed at an online British gambling company, Betfair, in Arguello's favor after Davydenko had won the first set 6–2. Davydenko withdrew from the match during the third set with a foot injury. Although Davydenko had suffered three first-round defeats in his last three tournaments, was injured in an earlier-round match, and showed signs of injury in the second set, it did not make sense to Betfair that such a heavy betting volume would go in Arguello’s direction at that point of time in the match. Per its agreement with the ATP, Betfair notified the Tour. It has since been revealed that nine people based in Russia had bet US$1.5m on Davydenko losing while two unknown people would gain US$6m from the loss. A total of $7 m was wagered on the match, ten times the usual amount. Due to these irregularities, the bet was voided. On Septempber 11, 2008 Davydenko, along with Arguello, was cleared of any involvement in match-fixing. At over a year in the process, the inquiry was the longest ever held into match-fixing in tennis.
Further controversy had also surrounded Davydenko after one of his matches at St. Petersburg Open in October 2007. During his 1–6, 7–5, 6–1 defeat by Marin Cilic he was given a code violation by umpire Jean-Philippe Dercq for not giving his best effort. He was later fined $2000 (£987) by the governing body of men's Tennis, the ATP, but the fine was rescinded upon appeal. The following week, he lost 6–2, 6–2 to Marcos Baghdatis at the Paris Masters. This generated some controversy, as Davydenko was cautioned by the umpire to do his best during the match.
|Year||Championship||Opponent in Final||Score in Final|
|2006||Paris||Dominik Hrbaty||6–1, 6–2, 6–2|
|2008||Miami||Rafael Nadal||6–4, 6–2|
|No.||Date||Tournament||Surface||Opponent in the final||Score|
|1.||January 5, 2003||Adelaide, Australia||Hard||Kristof Vliegen||6–2, 7–6(3)|
|2.||April 13, 2003||Estoril, Portugal||Clay||Agustín Calleri||6–4, 6–3|
|3.||May 2, 2004||Munich, Germany||Clay||Martin Verkerk||6–4, 7–5|
|4.||October 17, 2004||Moscow, Russia||Carpet (i)||Greg Rusedski||3–6, 6–3, 7–5|
|5.||May 21, 2005||St. Pölten, Austria||Clay||Jürgen Melzer||6–3, 2–6, 6–4|
|6.||May 27, 2006||Pöertschach, Austria||Clay||Andrei Pavel||6–0, 6–3|
|7.||August 6, 2006||Sopot, Poland||Clay||Florian Mayer||7–6(6), 5–7, 6–4|
|8.||August 26, 2006||New Haven, USA||Hard||Agustín Calleri||6–4, 6–3|
|9.||October 15, 2006||Moscow, Russia||Carpet (i)||Marat Safin||6–4, 5–7, 6–4|
|10.||November 5, 2006||Paris, France||Carpet (i)||Dominik Hrbatý||6–1, 6–2, 6–2|
|11.||October 14, 2007||Moscow, Russia||Carpet (i)||Paul-Henri Mathieu||7–5, 7–6(9)|
|12.||April 6, 2008||Miami, USA||Hard||Rafael Nadal||6–4, 6–2|
|13.||May 24, 2008||Pöertschach, Austria||Clay||Juan Monaco||6–2, 2–6, 6–2|
|14.||June 9, 2008||Warsaw, Poland||Clay||Tommy Robredo||6–3, 6-3|
|No.||Date||Tournament||Surface||Opponent in the final||Score|
|1.||26 May, 2003||St. Pölten, Austria||Clay||Andy Roddick||6–3, 6–2|
|2.||8 May, 2006||Estoril, Portugal||Clay||David Nalbandian||6–3, 6–4|
|3.||17 July, 2006||Båstad, Sweden||Clay||Tommy Robredo||6–2, 6–1|
|4.||20 April, 2008||Estoril, Portugal||Clay||Roger Federer||7–6(5), 1–2 ret.|
|No.||Date||Tournament||Surface||Partner||Opponents in the final||Score|
|1.||October 17, 2004||Moscow, Russia||Carpet (I)||Igor Andreev|| Mahesh Bhupathi |
|3–6, 6–3, 6–4|
|No.||Date||Tournament||Surface||Partner||Opponents in the final||Score|
|1.||June 9, 2008||Warsaw, Poland||Clay||Yuri Schukin|| Mariusz Fyrstenberg |
|0–6, 6–3, 4-10|
|Tournament||2001||2002||2003||2004||2005||2006||2007||2008||Career SR||Career win-loss|
|Australian Open||2R||1R||1R||2R||QF||QF||QF||4R||0 / 8|
|French Open||2R||2R||2R||1R||SF||QF||SF||3R||0 / 8|
|Wimbledon||-||1R||1R||1R||2R||1R||4R||1R||0 / 7|
|US Open||1R||2R||2R||3R||2R||SF||SF||4R||0 / 8|
|Tennis Masters Cup||-||-||-||-||SF||RR||RR||0 / 3|
|ATP Masters Series|
|Indian Wells Masters||A||A||A||1R||2R||3R||4R||3R||0 / 5||4–5|
|Miami Masters||A||2R||1R||2R||2R||4R||3R||W||1 / 6||11–6|
|Monte Carlo Masters||A||A||1R||QF||3R||1R||2R||SF||0 / 6||8–6|
|Rome Masters||A||1R||2R||3R||1R||3R||SF||3R||0 / 7||9–7|
|Hamburg Masters||A||A||2R||1R||SF||QF||3R||3R||0 / 6||10–6|
|Canada Masters||A||A||2R||A||3R||1R||QF||3R||0 / 5||6–5|
|Cincinnati Masters||A||A||1R||A||QF||1R||SF||2R||0 / 5||6–5|
|Madrid Masters (Stuttgart)||A||A||1R||A||3R||2R||A||0 / 3||1–3|
|Paris Masters||A||A||1R||2R||QF||W||3R||1 / 5||8–4|
|ATP Tournaments Won||0||0||2||2||1||5||1||3||N/A||14|
|Year End Ranking||79||81||44||28||5||3||4||-||N/A||N/A|