he said, he said: davydenko and the sand man



Nikolay Davydenko said nothing of importance this week, but that certainly didn’t stop us from running this brilliant picture of him and his wife Irina at the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray a resort and spa located in Dubai.

It wasn’t good news leading up to the Acapulco event this last week in Mexico, after 13 people were killed by gun violence. The ATP and WTA event has gone off without a hitch, however, after the ATP released this statement earlier in the week explaining their decision to keep the tourney as is: “Following an independent security assessment and discussions with tournament organizers, we are satisfied that responsible measures are being taken, and that the event has the full support of the authorities of Acapulco, the state of Guerrero, and the Mexican federal government.” Above: some sand art on the beach that we’re definitely digging.

(getty images photos)

aussie preview: the power list



Since we’re done with our fashion coverage for the year (we only kid!), we decided to look a little bit closer at the tennis that will be played at the upcoming Australian Open, which begins Sunday night on American television.

Tomorrow: Who’s Up, Who’s Down and the Dark Horses of the AO | Follow us on Twitter @TSFtennis

The Power List – How the top men (and women) stack up

 

1. No one can come into the AO feeling better than Roger Federer. The Swiss Mister won his season-opening foray in Doha without dropping a set, beating Nicolay Davydenko in the final. Along with his win at the World Tour Finals, Federer has notched 10 straight matches. Federer played three exhibitions during the off season – all against Rafael Nadal – and looks primed to defend his title in Melbourne.

2. Serena Williams. It might be strange to see Serena’s name second on this list, but the current world no. 4 will be the biggest female force in this year’s draw - absent force, that is. The defending champion hasn’t played a match since winning Wimbledon, and the ladies look lost without her. Serena beat Justine Henin in the most memorable Slam final of last year here, and the sticky courts of Australia won’t have the same female ferocity without her.

3. Rafael Nadal is appropriately third on our list – especially seeing that he has won three straight Slams. And there are three factors that play into Rafa winning an illustrious, fourth straight Major: his health (most namely his knees); his focus against lurking dark-horses (there are plenty – check back tomorrow); and his ability to rise against the Roger challenge. He failed in two of those in losing soundly to Federer in London in November, but will look to build his confidence one match at a time at the AO.

4. There is hard to find a more like-able – or more important, match-savvy – player on the WTA right now than Kim Clijsters. Clijsters captured the US Open for the second straight year in 2010, and then went on to dominate the women’s season-ending event. Her loss in Sydney’s final on Saturday to Li Na? We say that’s a good thing: A more-focused Kimmie won’t produce any 6-0, 6-1 third-round catastrophes this year.

5. Robin Soderling and Andy Roddick and Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. OK, it’s a little unfair that we bunched these four gents together, but at this point, it’s hard not to. Soderling had a hot start to 2011, winning Brisbane and once again proving that he is no flash in the pan. As for Roddick – who lost to Sod in the Brisbane final – the American is said to be in some of the best shape of his life had seems as hungry as ever. And it’s hard to believe that Murray and Djokovic have just one Slam between the two of them. How is that possible? (See Nos. 1 & 3 for answer.) Any of these fellas could walk away from Melbourne the champ, and few would be surprised…

6. Is there more of a mystery than Justine Henin on the women’s side? She is the female version of Juan Martin del Potro, hasn’t played since Wimbledon, but might be playing second fiddle to Kim’s current reign. Justine shocked us all by making the finals last year. It was in 2010 when she toughed through a straight-set win over now-retired Elena Dementieva, and again has a Russian seed (that’d be Kuzy) in the Round of 32. | Full women’s draw

7. While Tomas Berdych continues to be a mystery since his French-Wimbledon brilliance (he’s 12-13 since July), Nikolay Davydenko and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga have made their own noise to start 2011: Davydenko took out Nadal in Doha and Tsonga fell to Roger at the same tourney. Tsonga is a former finalist here (downing Fed in the semis in ’08), while Davydenko has (shockingly) still not been to the last two of a major. Any of these three could fit in with our group at No. 5, but do they have what it takes to run seven matches straight?

8. Here’s a new trio for you folks: Jelena JankovicAna Ivanovic and … Bojana Jovanovski. While we could have included Janko Tipsarevic in this line-up, but this new ladies three-some is sure to have the eyes of some WTA followers over the next two weeks. Our guess: the three gals will chalk up 7 total wins (AI 4, BJ 1 and JJ 2) over the two weeks. The ultimate question? Who will have the best year of the bunch? Jelena is a dismal 9-13 since a French open semis run and Jovanovski beat Kanepi, Pannetta and Rezai last week alone. And another new coach for Ana… | Ana just wants to have fun?

9. Venus Williams didn’t win a set in two round-robin matches last weekend in Hong Kong. She hasn’t played a WTA match since the US Open. And before that? Wimbledon. It’s anybody’s guess for Family Williams in Melbourne this year.

10. Three ladies who have a solid shot at a week-two run and a decent chance of a first-round crash out include Caroline WozniackiVera Zvonareva and Maria Sharapova. Wozniacki won just one game in an exo with Zvonareva last weekend, and both had bizarre early losses in Sydney. Sharapova’s ’11 debut? A second-round crash against Greta Arn. Just another (four) reasons that this might be Kim Clijsters’ Aussie to win.

Tomorrow: Who’s Up, Who’s Down and the Dark Horses of the AO

(federer photo future capetown; soderling photo via getty)

kolya hits 400 match wins



Two snaps to Nikolay Davydenko for joining a small group of active ATP players who’ve hit the 400 match win mark in their careers — a list that includes Moya, Federer, Nadal, and Hewitt, among others. This achievement has to be a welcome boost for the Russian, who’s slated to defend title wins at the Shanghai Masters and the ATP Tour finals. (On the flip side, keep in mind that Kolya’s finished strong at year-ends prior; in 2008, making the semis of Bercy and the finals of the men’s YEC.)

Draw: As the fourth seed at this week’s China Open in Beijing, Davydenko beat Cilic for that 400th win and will face Isner in the quarters. See the rest of the match-ups here.

Crew: For Beijing, Dunlop switches from the white/blue 2010 US Open polo to this bright blue crew, a shade that works well to give Davydenko’s anemic features some pop. (And earlier in the North American summer, there was a blue polo but had a white right sleeve.) For now, the kits are still not for sale as far as we know.

More: Two other pics of Kolya [Read more...]

kolya the kokopelli



Tucked away in one of those pics of Roger and Rafa‘s creating paintball art — designed to fete the upcoming ATP year-end tournament in London — was this one of Nikolay Davydenko‘s piece. And since the artwork’s stencils were based on each player’s signature move, we couldn’t help but wonder: does Kolya really look like a lanky kokopelli when he serves? Yikes. Oh well, it doesn’t matter; a man who serves us tequila can do no wrong.

(image via ATP)

irinaaaa



2010 US Open Nikolay Davydenko ran into that gorgeous backhand of Richard Gasquet and fell in straight sets. Nothing to write home about re: his Dunlop kit, and even now that he’s officially a face for that company’s new line of Biomimetic racquet’s, he played through two rounds in Flushing Meadows with an unstenciled Prince.

In that first photo, the crew; in this one, the polo.

His wife, Irina, hanging out on the practice court while Kolya did his thang.

(match images via Getty Images; irina photo by TSF)