kolya gives us a shooter

Kolya served us a tequila shot (his second favorite drink) at last night’s Dunlop party at the Union Square Ballroom. He would’ve made us a vodka and Red Bull (his favorite), but the bar didn’t have the mixer.

(photo by TSF)

dunlop’s baaaaack

Dunlop‘s unwrapped the bandages after a recent facelift of their website, which had been out of commission for a few months starting around Indian Wells time. It’s the usual fare for companies like this: player/product info, press releases, etc. There’s a page of wallpapers on there, too. Sadly, they went with some so-so photos of the usually photogenic Jurgen Melzer, Tommy Robredo, and Ross Hutchins.

And speaking of Dunlop, their most recently acquired mascot, Kolya Davydenko, still appears on rival Prince‘s roster of players. And another one of Dunlop’s sponsorship issues was covered by CNBC’s Darren Rovell, who discussed 2010 Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych‘s racquet ruckus, using Head sticks even though he’s paid to play with Dunlops.

davis cup: nalbandian moves argentina into the semis

Two clutch performances by David Nalbandian at this past weekend’s Davis Cup World Group quarterfinals in Moscow moves Argentina into the next round. Even though he’s been sidelined by injury for the past few months, the former World No. 3 won the opening singles rubber (vs. Davydenko) and the decisive fifth rubber (upsetting the unflappable Mikhail Youzhny), both of which contributed to their 3-2 victory against the Russians. (Read up: Tie Details)

Top clothing marks go to Leonardo Mayer in Lotto. Everyone else came predictably dressed (Eduardo Schwank in Topper‘s standard issue; Nalbandian in Yonex; Davydenko — with costume changes — in Dunlop; Kunitsyn and Youzhny in Fila and adidas whites, respectively).

Click on the pics below to see more.

(images via Getty Images)

davydenko in dunlop: for your eyes only

Wanting what we can’t have: That sleek red Dunlop polo worn by Nikolay Davydenko at the 2010 BNP Paribas Open (last week) is purely for show; while there are other Dunlop tennis clothes available for sale in the U.S., the ones on Nikolay are from the European collection.

And speaking of things that are only for our eyes only, it seems that the optical illusion that is the Dunlop/Prince/Davydenko sponsorship triangle isn’t quite over. To recap:

The top Russian’s sponsorship deal with Dunlop was announced just before the start of Indian Wells. Especially in light of being in limbo with Prince, we were happy that Nikolay had monetized his achievements in some form for 2010.

Now you see it…: The deets of the agreement came in a press release via the Dunlop and ATP sites. Along with endorsing racquets, clothing, and accessories, Kolya would also speak up for the company’s junior talent identification program, called D-Squad.

Two days after the Dunlop announcement, Prince countered with their own releases stating that Kolya had signed a deal to be “an exclusive endorsee of Prince tennis racquets and Prince racquet bags” through 2010. This requires him to have a Prince stencil on his Ozone Tour rackets during the four slams. Off the court, there’s also a clause giving Prince the right to use the Davydenko image for advertising.

So both companies are sticking to their guns, but it doesn’t matter since Davydenko pulled out of Indian Wells. He felt pain in his wrist while playing Rotterdam in February (he lost in the semis to Soderling) but it was misdiagnosed. He continued playing through the injury until he got to the desert; after a hard-fought win over Ernests Gulbis in the second round, Kolya discovered a more serious condition — a broken wrist bone — and pulled out.

Now you don’t…: The Dunlop press release, along with the rest of the Dunlop site, is currently down because of a revamp. The Dunlop release is also no longer available via the ATP website. I wonder if this is any indication of which company successfully courted Kolya?

Blank slate: Nikolay has yet to test out any Dunlop racquets (he was using an unstenciled Prince stick during Indian Wells). And since he’s out for a few months — he’ll likely miss all of the clay season — it’ll be a while before he gets matched up with a Dunlop racquet (if at all).

(Davydenko image via Getty Images; Dunlop screengrabs via dunlopsports.com)

nikolay rolls over for irina… or when it’s vodka straight up

In a charming display of devotion to his wife, Nikolay Davydenko didn’t give up the goods when asked if there’s any Russian tennis player he would want to marry. “Man or woman?”, he wanted to clarify, before explaining that he already has a “beautiful wife”. Good for him, since Irina was in the press room at the time.

We know how Kolya he likes his guys (nice eyes, nice hair), so in case those reporters are still wondering: we’re thinking he’ll pick Igor Andreev.

Another fun Davydenko fact: he’s weak sauce.

“I don’t drink so much because, you see, I’m skinny. I mix only, sometimes I drink clear vodka, sometimes mixed with Red Bull to give me a little boost in night club or disco.

“Because if I drink only vodka I go straight to sleep.”

Status quo: No new drops from Kolya’s clothing sponsor, Airness.

(image via Getty Images)

pico rolls over for kolya

As expected, Juan Monaco — the 30th seed at the 2010 Australian Open — rolled over for his third round opponent, Nikolay Davydenko. The score: 0-6, 3-6, 4-6.

To Juan’s credit, he had some pretty good wins in the prior two rounds, including one over Ernests Gulbis 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 in the first and a five-setter over Michael Llodra in the second (Pico came from two sets down).

Up next for Kolya is Fernando Verdasco, who walked over after Stefan Koubek retired with a fever (FeVer?) after losing the first set 6-1. And the potential quarterfinal matchup for the Russian is Roger Federer — sorry, Lleyton. (Draw: Men’s singles.)

It means go: Monaco’s wearing clothes from adidas‘s Spring 2010 Edge line, which is using green (“signal” and “dark”) as the contrast to the blue courts of the Australian Open. We’re all about the color blocking on the bermuda shorts, and pairing that with the intense graphic of the black/green crew gives a nice effect. Unfortunately, it just looks messy with the white/green colorway.

Buy: adidas Spring 2010 Edge Crew, $55; Edge Bermuda, $55; Warm-up, $80.

(images via Getty Images)

tuesday tease (sans tees)

Is that tongue?! Has the ATP joined forces with MAP for our London Balls idea?! We mean, it is the end of the season, so you can’t really blame us for wishful thinking, right?

Novak Djokovic took down Nikolay Davydenko 7-5 in the third set in their round robin encounter on Tuesday in London. The two have now met five times, with Djoko holding a 3-2 edge in the series. 

OK, yes, we agree, more pictures. After the jump. Go! [Read more...]

tour of duty: irina davydenko

It wasn’t Bec Cartwright, Xisca Perello, Jelena Ristic, Mirka Federer, or Kim Sears cheering in the players’ box this week in Shanghai. Instead, it was Irina Davydenko‘s turn to fill airtime between points at the Shanghai ATP Masters tournament. The cameras would normally focus on the fans in the stands, but no one’s been showing up to the fill the cavernous, 15,000-seat Qizhong Stadium. Thankfully, the bejeweled Irina was up to the task, even occasionally staring up at the jumbotron and smiling when her mug’s been enlarged for the entire arena’s viewing consumption.

One last shift: her husband, Nikolay Davydenko, will be playing for the Shanghai singles title tomorrow against Rafael Nadal.

(image via Getty)

novak djokovic’s wood

We knew it was a cross hiding under that adidas shirt, but we just weren’t sure what it looked like.

Mystery solved.

Thanks for playing: The Serb, seeded second at this week’s Shanghai ATP Masters tournament, lost in the semis to Nikolay Davydenko 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (1). Nole looked on track to beat the Russian, saving three break points in the first set and converting the second break point on Kolya’s serve. Davydenko broke in the second, using his speed to set up forehand and backhand winners from the baseline (but he showed some good net play, too). And by the time it got to the third set tiebreak, Kolya raced to 5-0 before ceding a point to Djokovic. He’ll face Nadal in the finals.

(image via Getty)