Youzhny made a splash on the ATP tour in 2002 with his first career title in Stuttgart, and finished the year with a dramatic 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 win over Paul-Henri Mathieu to close out a 3-2 Davis Cup title for Russia. He reached the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in 2006, at the U.S. Open, beating No. 11 seed David Ferrer, No. 6 seed Tommy Robredo and No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal in Queens before falling to No. 9 seed Andy Roddick in four sets. In 2007 the Russian won the title in Rotterdam and reached the Top 10 for the first time. In 2013 he won Valencia for his 10th career championship. Youzhny’s strength is his unorthodox, one-handed backhand, which he can drive deep with topspin or drop with slice. Though he gained infamy for his fiery outbursts on court, Youzhny happens to be a scholar off the court. He spent years working in between tournaments, and earned a PhD in philosophy from the University of Moscow in 2011.
Youzhny stunned Rafael Nadal to reach the 2006 U.S. Open semifinals: