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Davydenko happy to be Mr Anonymous

If it was not for the fact that he has become embroiled in recent betting controversies, the chances are that few people outside tennis would have heard of Nikolay Davydenko.

sports Updated: Jan 18, 2008 19:22 IST
Simon Cambers

If it was not for the fact that he has become embroiled in recent betting controversies, the chances are that few people outside tennis would have heard of Nikolay Davydenko.

The Russian, who did not even have a tennis clothing sponsor until last year, came into this year's Australian Open as the world number four, having won more than $7 million in career prize-money.

Davydenko continues to be interrogated at every tournament he travels to, with the Association of Tennis Professionals still investigating a match he played in Poland last August, which attracted irregular betting patterns.

This week, his only sight of the Rod Laver Arena has been as he walks into the grounds of Melbourne Park but until the betting controversy surfaced, anonymity was something Davydenko had long become used to.

"I don't think about centre court for me now," he told reporters on Friday after beating Marc Gicquel of France 6-3 6-2 6-3 to reach the fourth round, his third consecutive straight-sets win, all over Frenchmen.

"(At the start of the tournament) I know I need to win four matches to be in the quarter-finals, and I'll be on the centre court."

Davydenko has reached the Australian Open quarter-finals three years in a row and is feeling much more confident than he did at the start of the event.

"Really I was much better today," he said. "At the beginning of a tournament you always feel nervous but three matches have already been good. Now, it's about concentration for me."

Davydenko plays 14th seed Mikhail Youzhny in the fourth round.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)