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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 June 2007, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
Wimbledon's forgotten man
By Caroline Cheese
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Nikolay Davydenko
Davydenko isn't a fan of shopping with his wife
Nikolay Davydenko isn't really in the mood to be interviewed.

It's gone 9pm on a chilly Tuesday and he's just spent nearly three hours in the gathering gloom battling past fellow Russian Evgeny Korolev.

It probably isn't the best time to be getting to know the man behind the myth.

A man once described by an American journalist as looking like "a computer hacker who gets caught sending viruses from his parents' house".

A man deemed so insignificant he doesn't have his photo on the official Wimbledon website and who until recently did not have a clothing sponsor.

London is a nice city. Nice cars. BMWs and Bentleys...

Nikolay Davydenko
He is also the world number four, a three-times Grand Slam semi-finalist, with 10 titles to his name.

And after a slow start, Davydenko, now through to the third round at SW19 after coming from two sets down to beat Chris Guccione, proves to be a decent interviewee.

A nice fellow with a surprisingly dry sense of humour, he says he can't afford to be worried about having a profile so low it is almost non-existent.

"My friends who know me, they know what kind of person I am," he tells BBC Sport.

"It's not my responsibility to show people who I am. That's the responsibility of the media or the ATP to make me more popular, to give more information to the people.

KNOW YOUR NIKOLAY
His best friend on tour is Igor Andreev
Wife Irina is a psychologist
He is coached by his brother Eduard
His childhood heroes were Ivan Lendl and Yannock Noah
He's through to the third round of Wimbledon for the first time in his career. "I like grass," he says. "But maybe grass doesn't like me."
"I'm just a tennis player."

For the record, Davydenko was born in the Ukraine but moved to Germany when he was 15 to further his tennis career. He received Russian citizenship when he turned 18 and now divides his time between Germany and Russia.

He got married to Irina last year, and he likes fishing.

What else should we know about the 26-year-old?

"Well..." begins Davydenko, a little uncertainly.

"I guess when I play a tournament in a city, like Paris or London, I like to stay right in the city.

"The other players like to stay close to the tournament in a house. But I have a house in Germany - I prefer to stay in a hotel.

"I'm staying in Kensington. There's more restaurants and shopping so when it's raining, there's something to do. Me and my wife have been shopping in Knightsbridge. We went to Burberry and all those places.

606: DEBATE
BBC Sport's Caroline Cheese

"London is a nice city. Nice cars. BMWs and Bentleys..."

Not that Davydenko is too keen on shopping with the missus.

"If I go shopping, I shop for one hour, get everything I need and go home," he says.

"Girls can go for 24 hours, then the next day, next day, next day. That's why I don't like shopping with my wife because it's pretty tough. If you go alone, it's much easier."

And with that, Davydenko is off, heading off for dinner at one of Kensington's eating establishments, where no doubt the world's fourth best tennis player will go completely unnoticed.



SEE ALSO
Nikolay Davydenko Q&A
31 May 06 |  Tennis


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