Nikolay Davydenko Interview US Open - September 7, 2006Posted on September 8, 2006
An interview with: NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. How meaningful is this victory? You were down two sets and you came back and fought so very, very hard. How meaningful is this victory to you?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: I don't think about anything. I think I can lose in three sets. Because Haas play well, great serve, I have not a chance to break him before. That was 6 4, 7 6. He just service, easy, you know, was for me. And every time in the third set was tough for my serve. I play so many from baseline. I try to fight. Come back. That's was I get all the time pression.
Then was only one break. That's it. I win in third set. I was surprising myself because he didn't make first serve, or only one return, and then that's it. He make from second serve, and I returning, I winning from baseline these points. Winning game. Then winning set.
And then is the same was in the fourth set.
But, you know, it's how you say? maybe it's a lucky day, because I, beginning from first and second set, play not so good. Like against Murray, I play better. That's was maybe 'cause weather was different. Was sun. Was balls fast. Spring higher.
Was a little bit tough for me today because Haas yesterday play of center court also. For him, was already five sets he play against Safin and was feeling good center court. That was for him, I think, should be kind of win in three sets. That was surprising.
Q. He called you a ball machine. What do you call Tommy? How would you describe his game?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: You know, I didn't call nobody, you know, for the players. Sometimes guys surprising me, and if I play against this guy, you know, if some I know this player because I play against him before. Like he was playing very great from baseline. Because normally, like how I play from baseline, I try to play well. That was my important thing in the game, just hitting balls and good control, and do no mistake.
Haas play very well from forehand, and it was tough for me first to assess slice for him. I did so many mistake. That's why he won in break and he won games.
But then play better and better from my side.
But I don't know how say. Haas, five sets, killer, huh? For guys he play before. He beat Safin 7 6 in the fifth. That was I thinking about now five sets against me. He can, you know, try to come back, already at 5 2. But it was lucky, I think, by 5 4 I win my serve.
Q. Did you talk to Marat before the match at all about Tommy?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: No, no.
Q. Do you guys talk in general? Do the Russians kind of hang around?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: In Davis Cup.
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: In Davis Cup.
Q. In Davis Cup?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Yeah. If we practicing together. It goes like hitting five minutes, go drinking, you know, water (smiling).
Q. This is an incredible accomplishment for you, but to the American public, we don't know that much about Nikolay Davydenko.
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Is good for me (smiling).
Q. What are the special things about you as a man that have led to this accomplishment and made him special?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: I think it's important how you say? Russian, is tough to say. Only one thing, if I say like I living in America, or I have residence America, maybe can be, should be completely different, you know. But I don't live, not yet. That's was still Russian, yeah, that's why for American is not important Russian players.
Because Sharapova say, she's Russian, but, yeah, she live in America; she's famous in America, because she was young, she's coming here in America. Every time is talking about she's American, yeah? Passport, just passport Russian, but she's American already.
That's was like I would say for US Open. It's important I think American player most. Just I see on TV everything was because like Roddick, Blake. I think it's important for the men's was here.
I didn't see so much Federer on TV. You know, he played of grandstand. He is No. 1. He is the favorite here. He won US Open. But is not so much famous here also. That's was from my side, I am go zero. That's was okay. Maybe I little bit like more in Europe more famous because I play good there.
Yeah, if I keep good result in America, if I play more tournaments, Miami, Indian Wells, playing better and better, maybe I should be famous already in America. Like for me, last week, New Haven, winning, already coming to US Open semis. I think, in New York, I am already famous.
Q. You make a good point. Still, my question, to reach this far into the tournament is extraordinary. What are the qualities that you have that have brought you here that make you special as a person?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Uhm, I don't know how I say. Maybe I need to win Grand Slam. That's was to be famous most.
Because Safin was No. 1. He won Grand Slam. He won US Open. He won Australia Open. That was coming from famous. I don't so like who care about, you know, Davydenko. Doesn't matter top 10. But he didn't win Grand Slam. I was not like No. 1, you know. Is not like I don't think about, like, some management make promotion and make something famous guy, because I don't think is so perfect. You need to do something in the tour. You need to win tournament, or you need to be No. 1 to be famous. Doesn't matter where.
Q. How does this performance rate in your career?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: You know, now, like I would say was important to me still top 10 player in this year, yeah? Because I was finish 5 last year. Was great. I make semifinal.
Already, I finish already top 10 in this year. That's was maybe I can reach to the Masters in Shanghai. It's also important for the second year.
Q. You are an extremely consistent player, especially ground strokes and high pressure situations. How did you develop that skill? Is that something you always had from childhood, that focus, or is that something you had to really learn as you were maturing as a player?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Uhm, I think it's was all time I was young, I was playing everything, fighting, you know, play from baseline, try to do something. But I was skinny. I still I think skinny, you know.
But already I am moving better. Like moving in the court is important. Like I running good. Good control from baseline. It's from my side, it's very important. Not to be tired. Not to get some cramping in the five sets. It's I was surprising. I was play three hours, and I was feeling okay.
Q. Yesterday against Andy Murray you showed such zippiness, aliveness, really good placement of shots. Today we didn't see quite that same kind of figure. What was it about Tommy Haas that curtailed that?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Uhm, you ask about match, different match about Murray and Haas?
Maybe Murray play for me, it was better because he hitting faster and I was playing faster back. Haas was I think it was different weather. Because was sun and ball was little bit faster and higher, spring higher from hard court and center court. That's was he make a little bit more topspin, Haas, and was tough to control this ball from baseline. Very good slice from backhand, was very fast. That's why I do so many mistake. I was surprising myself from way I can't first two sets, I can't do anything. I was so many mistake. Can't do anything for control.
But then it's was maybe I lose so much power in first two sets, because I try to concentration more and more. Like do some mistake, and concentration more, because why I did? That's was but against Murray, I play good, you know. Like from baseline, I feeling more better.
Q. Nikolay, many American fans may not know your game. You have been remarkable in the Grand Slams this year. You've been to two quarterfinals in Australia. You took a set from Roger. You took him to two tiebreaks in the third and fourth sets, played him very, very tough. How will that help you if the very likely possibility will occur that you will play him next? How will you use that to help you in your strength, in your mind?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: You know, it's like everybody ask, How you can play against Federer. Like, physically, why Nadal beat Federer. I think because he fighting every point. He running every point. Because Federer try to make winners, and Nadal play back. That's why he running, try to good control and still, you know, in position.
That's why I play in Australia against Federer. It was tough match, yeah? But I lose, yeah, I lose in the third and fourth sets tiebreaks. I have so many set points. I think is, you know, every year you get in the mind something thinking about, Why I losing, you know. Maybe is in the future you already better and better.
Maybe if you have set point, you do something different. You learn something. Try to make winners. You just keep it's like, we talk about maybe coaching, you know, because coach see every match, yeah, how you play. He just say to you for the next match, that's was I don't know, against Federer. It's depend how you feeling already. If I come in semifinal and play against Federer, if I play if I feeling well, you know, if I have great feelings backhand, forehand, running good, yeah, just I think should be in the mind.
You need to think you can beat him. Not like he's No. 1, he's, yeah, that's was important only in head.
Q. As far as your mind and your mindset, I mean, there's got to be a feeling, you've been to a Grand Slam semifinal, two Grand Slam quarterfinals, and now to a semifinal here. Is there a point at which you say to yourself, Yes, I do belong here, I do belong playing the Roger Federers, the Nadals, the top players of the world? Yes, this is proper for me to be here?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: You know, how you say, I didn't play so well of hard court. Now I prove I play better and better. I reach semifinal US Open of hard court. That's, for me already something special. Because Rebound Ace, different surface. Roland Garros, clay court. Here, hard court, American hard court is different, yeah? Completely different. That's was I did something special level already for me. That's was I played well already at the US Open. That's what's in my mind already. I can play good in hard court. That was maybe in the futures. I feeling already better and better. I play on Rebound Ace good, I play on clay court and I play on hard court. Only one I'm thinking grass court (smiling). Just I need to, you know.
But my coach say, How I play now on hard court here in America should be the same you need to play in Wimbledon. That's was. Because is changing games. Is really change. Clay and hard, different game. That was for me important. Faster change to surface, and play well.
Q. Despite what happens in the next match, can you say already that you're a different player right now than you were coming into the US Open, in terms of confidence, your faith in your ability?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: I am different player for the hard court, I would say. I feeling I can I play very good of hard court already.
Q. Who was in the box next to your brother?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: My girlfriend.
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Yeah.
Q. Curious about the Russians doing so incredibly well in tennis. The women, of course, have done incredibly, incredibly well. The men are doing better and better. What's the development of tennis like in Russia for the men and women? Is it different? Is it similar? Give me some idea, your own opinion.
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: You know, Russian how you say? Russian tennis completely different for us because we have different for us. Just meet only in Grand Slam. We have not so much tournament. I think, okay, it's Miami and Indian Wells also together. But we have different tournaments. We have different organization, yeah? Complete different tennis. That's was woman like WTA organization make for, you know we don't know. We don't know anything about women tennis. We meet here. We know we are friends like, you know, from Russian girls. Just we spoke together.
But not like something special.
Q. What's the main difference between players that went to the semifinal one year ago to Roland Garros and the one who's gonna be playing here the next days, mentally? You feel you're going to be much more confident, not that nervous? What's the main difference between the players?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Semifinal, yeah. You know, how you guys say? Like if Federer, say, reach semifinal, he think about, I need to win US Open, because he's No. 1, he won already here.
For me, I reach my best result I make now here in semifinal, yeah? Just I need to come to the court, get fun, you know? Like not be nervous for the semis. Maybe also, you know, thinking about, I can play good, I can also win this match. That's was maybe the futures important. Because not like, Just get fun coming, you know. Losing three sets and then come back, you have already semifinal is enough for me, yeah?
But also I try keep play better and better. I prove myself I try well. That's we'll see what's happen on Saturday.
Q. Where are you based now? Where are you training?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: I train in Germany still, by my brother because he live there. It was for me easy coming from Europe because I play so many tournament in Europe. Coming there for a few days, just practice there.
Q. Have you considered going back to Russia to train there at all?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Never. Just we get Davis Cup and tournaments. That's it.
Q. Why? Why not train in Russia?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Because we have, hmm how you say? I don't say like bad about Russia. But it's not like something special if you come to Russia and you have you can practicing there. You have not so perfect for the players. That's was for me easy. It's flying far away, because three hours to Europe is already tough. That's was in Germany, like in Europe, like doesn't matter.
So many players Russian practice in Spain. That's was easy to fly somewhere in Europe because so many tournaments then in Europe. Is easy.
Q. How did you turn this match around today? You looked like you were beat after the second set.
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: I don't know. It was like this (snapping).
I was I can't tell you how. Just was, you know, same position. Was everything played the same. Just was maybe lucky one breakpoint. Like this I win the third set (snapping). The same was in the fourth. And again, again.
Q. Just talk quickly about Davis Cup a little bit. You're in America and you're making us afraid now.
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Yeah, good (smiling). Good for us.
Q. Are you thinking about that at all? What's your impression?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Only one thing I can tell. We play of clay court. It's completely different tennis (laughing). That's was we both play not I think everybody come to clay from hard should be not so great tennis, you know. From US Open, come of clay. That's why we'll see what's happen in Moscow (smiling).
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