Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Is scheduling still keeping Nikolay Davydenko from winning a Slam?

So aside from the tournament in Atlanta this week, the men are also playing at the German Open in Hamburg, where Nikolay Davydenko is the top seed and defending champ. He's still trying to work his way back into form after missing months out of the season due to injury.

But what I'm wondering is that instead of playing in Hamburg, should he be down in Atlanta gearing up for the U.S. Open? Or if getting a jump on the hard courts isn't his priority, should he just be taking off this week? Wouldn't either one of those options be better preparation for the year's final Slam? If you were to take a look at his schedule over the years, how he gets ready for Slams has always been full of question marks to me, and I can't help but think that plays a key role in him never even making a Major final, even though he's way more accomplished than peers Fernando Gonzalez, Marcos Baghdatis or Tomas Berdych otherwise.

If you look at the draws of tournaments held the week before the French or U.S. Opens, he's often the only top five player on the scene. Or he's deciding to make a comeback from injury during the worst stretch of the year for him, the grass-court season, as he did this year. Why didn't he take that time off, maybe play one of the post-Wimbledon clay events, then get in hard-court mode? It's obvious that he knows how to play on the concrete, just based on what he did at the end of last season and beginning of this one--not to mention a past appearance in the U.S. Open semifinals.

Everybody knows that Davydenko plays way more than your average top-10 pro. Keeping up that pace, though, has me a little skeptical about his chances of shedding that "Best Active Player to Never Make a Slam Final" title. (I don't know if everyone thinks of him that way, but TTA? does!)

(Photo: Getty Images)


Jake Willens said...

Yes it is, but his best chance ever was last year's Australian when he was up a set and a break against Fed (and had killed him the last two times on the hard stuff) and had a backhand to go up a double break. He netted it, and lost the match. That was it for him. Never again.

van said...

Hey Jake, that was a great shot for him (and I apologize for my late reply). He's not even putting up good results on the dirt right now, which is a little shocking. Maybe he came back too soon?