Davydenko admits Slam success remains a dream

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The Independent Online

Nikolay Davydenko admits an end to his grand slam duck could still be a long way off despite his brilliant victory at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals yesterday.

The Russian claimed the biggest title of his career with a 6-3 6-4 win over US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro at London's O2 Arena, capping a week in which he had also beaten Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer - for the first time in 13 meetings.

But despite being a stalwart of the top 10 for the last five years, Davydenko is often overlooked as a contender for the top honours, possibly because his best performances so far consist of two French Open and two US Open semi-finals.

And the 28-year-old conceded the format counts against him, saying: "If grand slams become best-of-three sets, yes (I can win). Because in three sets winning matches is much easier.

"I know Del Potro was strong. For sure I was playing much better, but I know how Del Potro can play first, second set, and third and fourth and fifth with really good power. That was maybe how he beat Federer in the final at US Open.

"I don't know what I need to do for the next season. I need to have very good physical preparation for the five-set matches in Australia. You need to run not for two hours, you need to run for four hours."

As well as the trophy and enough ranking points to take him back up to number six in the world, Davydenko also collected a cheque for more than US dollars 1.5million - the most lucrative in tennis.

And the Russian is now hoping he may have enough money to finally buy a flat in Moscow.

Reflecting on his windfall, he said: "I want to buy an apartment still. It's still expensive, so I wait. This is one million, but it is not enough. Maybe this million will give me a chance to buy an apartment in Moscow for next year."

Davydenko, who is the first Russian winner of the prestigious end-of-season event, picked up where he left off against Federer and in truth a Del Potro revival never really looked on the cards.

The Russian broke through in the fourth game after his opponent - not for the first time in the tournament - was pulled up for a foot fault.

Del Potro had one chance to break back but Davydenko is not easily rattled and he recovered to hold and then confidently served out the set.

The Argentinian needed something special in the second set but two break points went begging in game six and three games later he came unstuck, Davydenko putting together a series of superb points to break to love.

He clinched the title in confident style, too, and Del Potro admitted he had been outplayed.

"This tournament has a great champion," he said. "He worked hard to beat every player here this week. He played much better than me, and that's it. He played unbelievable tennis.

"He's very fast. He played like PlayStation - he ran everywhere. It's very difficult to make winners. Nobody knows how we can beat him."