Nikolay Davydenko, the former world No. 3 and 2009 ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) World Tour Finals champion has officially retired from professional tennis. The 33 year old, currently ranked 244 in the world, announced his decision at his home event The Kremlin Cup in Moscow, an event he did not compete in.
The Russian, who has not competed on the ATP circuit since the French Open earlier this year, said that injuries, which disturbed him and did not able him to “produce good results”, had forced him to make his decision. The decision, he said, was made in June, after the French Open when he could not play “at the level I used to play at.”
That level was an extremely high one, high enough to take him No. 3 on the ATP rankings, win him 21 titles, and take him to the semi-finals of the French Open (2005, 2007), the semi-finals of the U.S Open (2006, 2007), and four quarter-final finishes at the Australian Open (2005, 2006, 2007, 2010).
That last run to a quarter-final in Melbourne 2010 was the end of what was perhaps Davydenko’s peak period. In 2009, he finished the year ranked No. 6 on the ATP rankings after winning the WTF finals. In that event, he beat Roger Federer, who had won two slams that year and made the finals of the other two, in the semi-finals in three sets. He then beat U.S Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in the final, giving a performance that del Potro described as being in “playstation” mode due to the Russian’s flat and powerful laser-like ball striking which had his opponents running side to side until Davydenko got the open court he was looking for and blasted the ball for a winner. That season, Davydenko also won the Shanghai Masters title, beating Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in consecutive matches.
Going into the Australian Open 2010, Davydenko carried over his form from the end of 2009 as he beat Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal back to back to win the Qatar Exxonmobil Open. His form made him a favorite to win the Australian Open and his quarter-final match against Roger Federer was much anticipated as the Russian had the game and the momentum to get a famous win. For a set and a half it looked like he might be able to pull off the upset. Leading by a set and 4-1, Davydenko bullied Federer from the baseline with his huge ground strokes only to then be seemingly unable to hit the ball in the court as he lost the match 6-2, 3-6, 0-6, 5-7.
After that event, Davydenko hurt his wrist at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam and his game steadily declined from then on until his final performance at the 2014 French Open which he lost in straight sets to Robin Hasse, a shadow of his former semi-final placing self.
Davydenko will also be remembered for winning the ATP Masters Series Miami tournament in 2008 beating Rafael Nadal in the final for the loss of just six games. Other notable achievements in a professional career lasting 15 years were finishing in the top ten for five consecutive years (2005-2009), winning six of seven hard court clashes with Rafael Nadal and earning over sixteen million dollars in prize money.
Commentary by Christian Deverille
Photo by Doha Stadium Plus Qatar- License