BY RIZWAN REHMAT
DOHA: Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko (pictured) is keen to have an injury-free run in the new season that starts with this week’s Qatar ExxonMobil Open.
The 31-year-old, who played just 47 matches last season, was hampered by shoulder and foot problems.
The 2009 ATP Tour’s season-ending champion, Davydenko reached only two semi-finals in 2012 and one quarter-finals berth for a 24-23 overall win/loss card.
However, with the new season starting today, Davydenko is confident he would have a good run of form in 2013.
Excerpts from a chat ahead of the season’s first tournament:
Question: What are your goals for the new season?
Answer: (My goal is) to get the best results I can do. For sure for me 2012 was not so great. In the new season, I hope I am able to keep my concentration and play well. I hope I compete well. I hope there are no injuries anymore. I hope I can push myself and I can get the results. I hope I can play a lot of tournaments and get good results.
Question: What about Grand Slams? Is that still one of your goals the rest of your career?
Answer: For me now, every tournament is important. It doesn’t matter where I play. I hope to play good here and so that I get confidence for the next event. I hope I can get confidence in the beginning of the season. Then going into the Grand Slams, for sure, I will get good preparation. Grand Slams are important, you know. So all starts from here and then we finish in October.
Question: You said that 2012 was not a good season. Which part of your game wasn’t convincing?
Answer: No, I mean my injuries from shoulder problems and foot issues - I couldn’t run properly. There was always something here and there. I couldn’t do anything (to prevent that). I hope in the new season I will be in better shape and have good confidence. I still feel I can play, I can run and I can fight for every point. I will try to make good results.
Question: Is Nadal’s injury the result of a long, tennis season every year? Is it a case of too much of tennis?
Answer: No, no, no. Everybody gets injured. Everybody has time off after injury. It depends what kind of injury you have. It’s not a players’ problem. It is a problem from the physio(s). You should have private physios check (on) you and do the best to help you hold the level you play at on the Tour. No matter how many tournaments you play, how many matches you play.
Question: Do you think the men’s Tour is going to miss Nadal?
Answer: Me? No! I don’t think so much about that (Nadal’s injury). For sure he will come back for the clay court season. And then he will try to win everything he can. Nadal is Nadal. The fans may miss him but not the players (smiles).
Question: How has been your training so far?
Answer: I have the confidence to carry on. For me it was the first day of the new season. Surprisingly, I came good. Tomorrow, I will practice again and get ready for the event.
Question: You were complaining about the weather here in Doha two years ago. Do you still feel the same way about the local weather?
Answer: Yes, I remember that. I just checked the weather. It is perfect. During daytime, it is 23 or 24 and the minimum (temperature) is 16. So it is perfect. I think if it stays the same, we will have a great tournament. All you have to do is have patience and play as long as you want.
Question: Will you go for the Australian Open?
Answer: Yes, from here I go to Melbourne. I may play an event there and then the Australian Open. THE PENINSULA