By Yeshayahu Ginsburg
If someone asked me at what point did Nikolay Davydenko’s career take a (as of now) permanent turn for the worse, I would have an answer ready. I think that there was a clear time, a clear match, a clear set, in which Davydenko reached a peak. There is one singular moment that we can point to as the end of Davydenko’s time as a top player. Since that turning point in that single match, Davydenko has just not been the same player.
It was three years ago, in the Australian Open quarterfinals. Davydenko was playing the best tennis of his life. He had won his first (and only) Masters 1000 tournament in Shanghai in late 2009 and followed that up with a victory at the World Tour Finals in the O2 in London. He won Doha to start 2010, beating Federer and Nadal back-to-back in the process.
And then came the Australian Open. Davydenko was in the greatest form of his career. And, while he had reached Grand Slam quarterfinals and semifinals in the past, t...