English is not my native language. So I really appreciate if you bear with me.
Professional sports are entertainment involved big cash. We pay our money to witness athletes’ playing. What attracts us to pro sports? Some say that it is their physical ability, playing style, or unexpected drama. Some say that it is their figure itself.
Yes, athletes’ figure is a very important factor for a pro sport to make money. Especially if they has great charisma, let alone are a top pro, the opportunity of its media coverage increases and it helps to gain new fans.
Nikolay Davydenko, born in Severodonezk, Ukraine, was being at the top 5 (6) for a long time once he raised into top 10 in June, 2005 (reached career high ranking of No. 3 in 2006, finished the year ranked in the top 5 for the fourth consecutive year in 2008 and in the top 10 for the fifth consecutive year in 2009).
As of today, he’s got 21 ATP singles titles under his belt, included 3 masters (2006 Paris, 2008 Miami, 2009 Shanghai), 1 ATP finals (2009 London; he qualified the year-end championships 5 years in a row). He reached AUS QF 4 times (2005-07, 2010), FO SF 2 times (2005, 07), US SF 2 times (2006-07).
He has a great achievement in his career. He also has a great figure, good looking; Ask Mrs. Irina Davydenko.
Nevertheless, he usually was forced to play on other courts in early rounds at Grand Slam which means that his matches were barely broadcasted (I don’t know the situation in Russia).
Okay, I admit. I, as a general tennis fan, would be lying if I say he has great charisma (well, as a huge Davydenko fan, I say he has!). Some tennis journalist (kind of) said that it was because his PR was questionnable (I doubt that he had a publicist though). He is unfriendly to media. He barely gets emotional on court. His playing style is not like Federer. I understand that unpopular players don’t get much attention from the media unless they win a Grand Slam title or a big title near to it.
He, however, has a sense of dry humor, which I really like, even though English is not his and my native language.
Look at his aggressive baseline game, his quickness and anticipation which lead to his exceptional ability to hit the ball early and clean on both forehand/backhand, and his breathtaking angle shots. Who can ignore those?
And his tremendous achievement was as mentioned above.
All the more reason, it was very disappointing that he finally got an attention from the media only after his winning ATP finals in 2009. For me, it was too late.
In a movie, a few actors can get a major role, many others are cast as a supporting role. But movie is not feasible to be made without supporting actors.
The same applies for pro sports, for both team sports and individual sports. And Nikolay Davydenko is a representative among many supporting actors. If Nadal were Marlon Brando or Al Pacino, he’d be Robert Duvall (it’s not what I meant!). If Federe were a quarterback, he’d be a left tackle. If Roddick were Shigeo Nagasima, he’d be Katsuya Nomura (*).
After he lost 1st round at Roland Garros the other day, Davydenko implied his retirement this year. At some point in last year or so, most people could figure that he would retire from his pro career in near future.
It’s sad, to be honest, but I am happy to witness his achievement. He has a great career as a tennis player, he also has a beautiful wife and daughter. We don’t know his future path yet. It’s related to tennis or not, I wish him the best.
I love Nikolay Davydenko (of course as a player), I always will.
————————————————————Davydenko Best 10 matches
10. Federer d. Davydenko 5-7,6(5)-7,6(7)-7 [Roland Garros SF 2007]
10. Federer d. Davydenko 6-2,3-6,0-6,5-7 [Australian Open QF 2010]
He led over and over again on both matches. I confess that I was amused that the spectators on the stand froze and were very quiet at RG. As for the latter, I say it loud here, Davydenko said that he thought he would win THE 2ND SET, not the match itself!
9. Davydenko d. Murray 7-5,6-2 [Tennis Masters Cup (Shanghai) SF 2008]
Yes, Murray was tired from the previous match against Federer. Aside from the fact, Davydenko gave full play to his abilities.
8. Djokovic d. Davydenko 6(3)-7,6-0,5-7 [Tennis Masters Cup (Shanghai) RR 2008]
Ultra high speed Ping-Pong tennis. It was fun to watch even though he lost.
7. Davydenko d. Del Potro 6-3,6-4 [ATP Finals F 2009]
The first big title (except for the masters series titles, of course). Thank you very much.
6. Davydenko d. Nadal 6-4,6-2 [Miami F 2008]
Did you know he went through with only one racket?
5. Davydenko d. Nadal 0-6,7-6(8),6-4 [Doha F 2010]
Who can turn around the match from a bagel against Nadal? We all knew that Nadal was injured (knee). But Murray once said Nadal was still able to beat him on one leg, right?
4. Davydenko d. Hanescu 6-3,4-6,6-3 [Hamburg QF 2009]
Although I can’t say that I’ve watched Hanescu’s matches enough though, I believe that he played his best in this match. Davydenko had to bring his willingness to win out unlike his usual self. He eventually won the title and it became more worthy because of this match in my opinion.
3. Davydenko d. Federer 6-2,4-6,7-5 [ATP Finals SF 2009]
The first time win from Federer! I was so emotional. I cried. Literally. Really.
2. Davydenko d. Nadal 7-6(3),6-3 [Shanghai F 2009]
He completed his winning method against Nadal. Winner after winner. Breathtaking.
1. Nadal d. Davydenko 6(3)-7,7-6(8),4-6 [Roma SF 2007]
I know, it was the match he lost. But I will never forget my emotion at that time because, hello, the opponent was 2007 version of Nadal! THE Nadal! Who could imagine that one who (almost) beat Nadal on clay would be Davydenko? Especially in the 2nd set, I got goose bumps. And I will never forget the people sitting on the stand cheered him up loudly, either.
————————————————————* Mr. Nagashima and Mr. Nomura were professional baseball players in Japan. Mr. Nomura didn’t come into the spotlight unlike Mr. Nagashima who was a star player. When he achieved the 600th home run, the attendance at the game was only 7,000. At his post match interview, he left the words; I could keep playing until now because of Nagasima and Sadaharu Oh. With gripping play at bat and fielding, their games always were packed while I played at the stadium with a conspicuous number of vacant seats. I’ve been frustrated with my invase situation. Some would be sun flower, and others would be evening primrose blooming at hideaway.