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Page last updated at 21:02 GMT, Sunday, 29 November 2009

Davydenko thrilled to join greats

Nikolay Davydenko

ATP World Tour final highlights - Del Potro v Davydenko

By Piers Newbery
BBC Sport at the O2 Arena

Nikolay Davydenko was thrilled to add his name to the illustrious roll of honour at the ATP World Tour Finals with victory over Juan Martin del Potro in London on Sunday.

The seventh seed completed a superb week by defeating the US Open champion 6-3 6-4 to lift the biggest title of his career.

He becomes the first Russian to win the season-ending event and follows in the footsteps of the likes of Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, Ivan Lendl and Bjorn Borg.

"I've seen Djokovic, Federer, Sampras, everyone, win this and after 2009 the name Davydenko will stay on this trophy forever," he said.

"I think it's amazing. I know the history [of the tournament] and for my name to be there is something amazing for me."


Davydenko, who beat Federer for the first time in 13 attempts in the last four, has qualified for the eight-man tournament for the last five years.

But despite his undoubted place among the game's elite, he remains relatively unknown to many beyond tennis fans as he is still without a Grand Slam title.

The 2010 season kicks off in five weeks' time with the Australian Open to follow soon after in January, but the 28-year-old still has his doubts about winning a major.

"If Grand Slams becomes the best of three sets, yes," he joked. "Winning matches in three sets is much easier.

"I need to have very good physical preparation for the five-set matches in Australia. You need to run not like two hours, you need to run for four hours."

Asked about his lack of profile even back home, Davydenko said: "I hope after this tournament I will become more famous in Russia. For me, it's really important.

"In Moscow I played against Marat [Safin] and like 80% support Safin," he said. "For sure, it was his last tournament, but I saw how many people like him, support him and enjoy how he plays.

Nikolay Davydenko
Davydenko finally gets to talk to fans after winning the title

"For me, it's a little bit disappointing. I hope now Marat is finished that in the future I'll be famous in Russia and everybody will support me."

And Davydenko admitted that he had not been asked for one autograph during the last week in London, saying: "Maybe everybody is concentrating on Federer and Nadal.

"Everybody's looking that way, not at me, but it's good. I don't want to be so famous like these guys because it's really difficult, but maybe now I am also a little bit, little bit - just a small part famous here in London. I'd like it."

Del Potro looked tired from the opening moments of the final, not surprisingly bearing in mind he did not get to bed until 3am on Sunday following his semi-final.

"At the moment it's tough to say what I feel," said the 21-year old afterwards. "But maybe when I arrive in Argentina I'll start to feel better, more relaxed.

"The season was so hard, I need time off to recover."


And the Argentine, who would have overtaken Andy Murray for fourth place in the world rankings with victory on Sunday, said he had plenty to work on despite a superb year.

"I have to keep working," said Del Potro. "I have many things to improve; my serve, my forehand.

"My goal is to feel better with these parts of the game but I have very good players fighting with me like Murray, Djokovic, Federer, Nadal."

The tournament, which is the most prestigious outside the four Grand Slams, was making its debut in London after moving from Shanghai.

And the total attendance figure across the eight days was confirmed as 256,830, with nine of the 15 sessions a 17,500 sell-out and the lowest attendance 15,718 on the Tuesday afternoon.

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see also
Davydenko takes World Tour title
29 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Bryan twins finish season on high
29 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Del Potro v Davydenko as it happened
29 Nov 09 |  Tennis
World Tour Finals photos
29 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Battling Del Potro reaches final
28 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Davydenko shocks Federer in semis
28 Nov 09 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Tennis

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