Nikolay Davydenko had not been stopped for a single autograph in London -- but is now a household name after winning the ATP World Tour finals.
Nikolay Davydenko said he had not been stopped for a single autograph in London—but the Russian is now a name to be reckoned with after landing the World Tour Finals crown.
The 28-year-old beat the holders of all four Grand Slams as he claimed the title at London’s O2 Arena, disputed among the year’s top eight players.
But while all the talk was about Switzerland’s world number one Roger Federer, Spanish world number two Rafael Nadal, Davydenko was the one beating them and scooping $1,51-million in prize money.
Davydenko defeated Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 6-4 in Sunday’s final.
Davydenko, who does not even have a racquet deal, has finished in the top six for five years running and feels it’s about time he got some recognition.
Asked how many times he had been stopped for an autograph in London, the Russian replied: “Not once. Really!
“Maybe everybody’s concentrating on Nadal and Federer. Everybody’s looking this way, not on me.
“But it’s good. I really enjoy it. I don’t want to be so much famous like these guys. Because it’s really difficult for Federer. I know he always tries to have a different hotel, quiet, to spend time with family. He’s for sure famous for winning Wimbledon. Everybody knows him.
“But maybe now after London here, I have also little bit, little bit, just small part famous here in London. I would like it.”
And being acknowledged back home wouldn’t go amiss either.
“I hope after this tournament I become more famous in Russia. For me it’s really important. It’s really disappointing. I hope in the future, I’ll be famous for Russia and everybody will support me.”
After winning the most important trophy of his career, Davydenko has his sights set on retaining it next year.
“It would be six years in a row coming within the top eight. I don’t know if I can get it. It’s really interesting next year for me because winning the last tournament of this year is something amazing.
“It’s very important for us, the players, to always be in a good position, be in the top eight guys. We feel much more strong and confidence.
“But I don’t want to think about next season. Just enjoy this.”
The Russian already has plans for his World Tour Finals winnings.
“I’ll spend a lot of money in the Maldives,” he said.
“I want to buy an apartment, still. I didn’t buy an apartment in Moscow. Still expensive. I wait. Maybe it’ll start to be cheaper. But this one million dollars is not enough. Maybe this million gives me a chance to buy an apartment in Moscow next year.”
Meanwhile Del Potro, 21, the world number five, was reflecting on an impressive year, which saw him beat French Open and Wimbledon champion Federer in the US Open final for his first Grand Slam title.
“At this moment it’s tough to say what I feel. But maybe when I arrive in Argentina, I will start to feel better, more relaxed. I will have vacations. The season was so hard. I need time off to recover,” he said.
“I have many things to improve: my serve, my forehand. My goal is I’m going to feel better with this part of the game so I can be in better positions.
“I have very good players fighting with me, like Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Federer, Nadal. So I know the way to work.”—AFP