Davydenko Sets Sights on Dubai Tennis Championships

DUBAI — Nikolay Davydenko has vowed to be in perfect shape when he begins his fifth tilt at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships title.

Published: Thu 11 Feb 2010, 12:20 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:51 AM

The talented Russian, acknowledged to be one of the swiftest players on the ATP World Tour, has changed his normal playing schedule so that he can prepare in the best possible way for his bid to lift the trophy at what is universally acknowledged to be the premier tennis event in the Middle East.

“Before, I’ve always played Rotterdam and then come straight to Dubai,” he said. “But this time I have one week off and have time to prepare outdoors in the hope that I have sufficient time to reach a good level.”

Davydenko missed the tournament last year because of injury, but on his last visit in 2008 he beat Andy Murray in the quarter-finals before losing a tough three-setter to Feliciano Lopez. When the Russian recovered from injury last season, he captured five ATP World Tour titles in a season for the second time in his career, climaxing with his biggest career title at the year-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London when he defeated US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro.

The 28-year-old finished the season ranked in the top six for a fifth consecutive year and extended his impressive streak, of winning at least one title, to seven seasons, walking away with the winner’s cheque at both Hamburg and Umag as he won back-to-back tournaments for the first time in his career, following up with more triumphs in Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai before closing out the year with his London triumph.

Then, to begin this season, he won in Doha in the best possible fashion by beating Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Nevertheless, despite his success, Davydenko rarely threatens to make an appearance in the celebrity pages, which is exactly the way he likes it.

“It’s good for me, a good feeling. I have no pressure, because everybody, press, fans, everybody, concentrates on Nadal and Federer winning everything,” Davydenko said.

“For me, it is good that nobody writes anything about me. This means there’s no pressure on me and I just concentrate for every match, playing well, and I hope I can continue winning tournaments. I won in Doha and now I want to come back to Dubai and try to win there.

“It’s perfect for me. I’m a different person and I don’t want to be famous. It’s a different life. Sometimes I don’t want people disturbing me – I can do what I want. Nobody takes bad pictures of me - I’m not a celebrity type of guy.”

Although he was unable to play the event last year, Davydenko did take the opportunity to grab a few days here as a tourist. “Nikolay Davydenko is the quiet achiever of the tennis world. He has won some of the biggest titles and beaten the best player,” said Colm McLoughlin, Managing Director of tournament owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free.

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