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Pacific Life Open: Lindsay Davenport, March 15, 2008

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March 15, 2008


Lindsay Davenport


THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I'm wondering if maybe another announcement coming. Chanda said on the TV warmup or intro that you're coming back after your first baby.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Oh, God. (laughter.) That's actually funny. Last night I was having dinner with a girlfriend and she was ordering sushi and some alcohol and I was like, No, I don't want either. She's like, You're pregnant. I'm like, Are you're crazy? I'm about to go play. No. 100 percent not true. Only baby.

Q. The match today, obviously, you know, you'd like to play, but under the conditions, are you just as happy to get off?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, it was really tough out there today. Obviously was tough yesterday and today. I think maybe we have one more day of the tough conditions.
It makes it challenging, especially since we had such a perfect week leading up to the windstorm that has come. No, I was happy to end the match at that time. Not happy for her under the circumstances. We've all been there. It's no fun.
But I feel fine with one set, and, you know, have no plans to go hit again or anything like that.

Q. Did you sense anything after the first time that she called the trainer out, you could see something in her?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I did at the game at 5-2. I think she called the trainer at 4-1. I normally try not to worry about that too much. Still really focus on myself. All of a sudden, at 5-2 I could tell she was having a really hard time moving to her right or to the forehand.
And after seeing her in that game, I wasn't surprised had she stopped. She really didn't seem like she could push off to her right side much at all.

Q. Jack Kramer always said if you think somebody's ill, beat their brains out and take them to lunch. Does that make sense to you?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, it's hard to do that. I mean, sometimes players play better when they're injured. They feel like they've just got to go for winners. But, yeah, it's still -- obviously you feel compassion, but we're still out there competing. If they're still standing there taking it you still got to give it to them, but it's never a fun position in either way.

Q. Yesterday Daniela Hantuchova called Center Court her home. Said she'd like to play every match in her career on Center Court here. You like the court here. How do you like Center Court, and how do you like your chances or Daniela's chances of the third championship?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I mean, I like the court. For me it's the tournament. I mean, it doesn't -- I don't mind if I'm on Stadium 2 or Stadium 3. It's more about playing here in the desert. I have a lot of friends and family, so I'm not -- I'm not partial to the court.
But Daniela's great. She's a friend of mine. I was really happy seeing her last year play and do so well. I know she enjoys places where she's done well to come back to.
Certainly I don't want to see her win it right now. Maybe, you know if I'm not still in it I might change my mind. But, yeah, I mean, if you like playing outdoors, the air is light, if you have a big game, even though the court is just a little slow, I think it still favors the big hitters for women's tennis.

Q. Has the friendship extend to baby-sitting?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No, probably not, but we're -- he's mostly with us. If not, he's probably with my mom or his baby-sitter. But, you know, I've got a lot of friends that are friendly with him. They don't have to see him alone.

Q. Am I mistaken, or didn't you say on the conference call that you and Daniela were going to play doubles here?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: We were, and then I just -- it was a lot of tennis coming from Memphis. I planned to play. I talked to her Monday night, and I wasn't sure about possibly finishing the event.
And she said that Sugiyama didn't have a partner that really wanted to play, and I was like, You should do that, because I don't know, with all the tennis and stuff.
So it's why I really like playing doubles with her. Singles are our priority, and if it works out, great, we're going to play. And if we don't, one of us doesn't feel like playing, we don't have to play. And here she was a great sport and found another great partner, so I was happy.

Q. You may have commented on this before, but when you came back here with all this energy last year, all this energy for tennis, the big time rapport, what went through your mind? What's in your mind?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: When I was here --

Q. Last year.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. It was different being here obviously, not playing and not being injured, per se. Obviously pregnancy is a lot different, but it was fun. It was the first time I had been around tennis since my last tournament in September, and it's always been my favorite tournament.
It was exciting to get back around, see live tennis. A friend of mine and I -- he and I walked and watched some of the back courts, and it was nice. That was the first time I had thought about, Oh, maybe, you know, I'll try and play again if everything goes well.
I'm certainly happy I came out here and got it back in my blood, and realized, you know, what I was missing and what I could potentially return to.

Q. Is that kind of a reinvigoration for you to watch it without having to play in it?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. I mean, you know, I've always loved tennis, and I will always be watching it and always try and be around it as much as I can.
But I think just seeing it in person and seeing some of the other players, it really kind of was -- it was inspirational to me, and certainty I didn't know how pregnancy would turn out, how childbirth would kind of affect my body.
But, you know, I was eager to kind of come back and compete against the girls I saw playing here last year.

Q. I was speaking to Rick Leach one time about you, because you're from our area, and Rick said the one thing -- I said, What most do you think about Lindsay? And he said the fact that people don't understand how hard you work to get where you are. It was a wonderful comment.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, he's a great guy.

Q. Do you feel that there's something missing today with some of the players? They have not worked as hard as you've worked?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, it's hard to comment on that, because I know for a long time there was maybe a misconception about me and how hard I worked or my priorities. I think one of the reasons I've been able to be so good, so consistent through the years, was because of that. But I think that the players in general work much harder today than when I first started in the early '90s. There's such an emphasis on fitness and being in shape and players practicing a lot. I think because of that sometimes we see a few more injuries.
But on the other hand, I think that the fitness has risen dramatically, especially when the Williams started coming out and they were the first ones beside Martina Navratilova to be really fit and strong and kind of upped the ante for everybody.
I think, in general, now everybody knows this is a business. You have a limited amount of time to excel, and everyone tries to take advantage it have.

Q. One of your important coaches and mentors, Lynne Rolley, is going to be inducted into one of California's tennis hall of fames. Could you take a moment and talk about her role in your career and what she meant to you as a coach?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, Lynne was a huge believer back when I was 15, 16 year old. She did a lot of work with both Chanda and myself and was traveling with us.
She was great. You know, I was really, really lucky to have such a positive female influence on my life and on my tennis. When she had a lot of belief in me in the years when I was doing well, but not a lot of people had pegged me to be a great player or do well.
She became like a second mom to me. She definitely was one of the reasons why I was able to make the leap from the pros, juniors to the pros and be successful.

Q. With Olympics coming up and you being an Olympic champion, can we talk about your Olympic memories and aspirations?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I mean, I can't wait to go back in early August. It's been on the calendar for my family for a long time, the last few months. My aspiration is to, you know, do my best to win any medal. I really don't care. I keep saying what color, but I should say what medal it is. I hope to be able to bring something home for myself and for my country.
Obviously my best memory is winning the gold, but on top of that, I always think back to opening ceremonies in '96. It was in Atlanta, and the United States, obviously, were the last country to come out. I was with Mary Joe and Monica, two of my best friends on the tour at the time, and it was just a moment I'll never forget. We were so excited and giddy and, like, pure joy.
Normally you don't really see that from professional athletes and we just thought we were the luckiest people in the world. Sitting there, we were all crying when Muhammad Ali lit the torch. I always kind of think back to that moment. I wish I could go back and feel the happiness that the three of us felt at that time.

Q. There are a lot of young players who are going to the Olympics representing their countries, and when we ask them about their expectations they say they don't have any. They don't know what to expect. Just in case they read my paper, can you share what they should expect, how different it is?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Everybody's different in their personality. I absolutely love being part of a team, and especially an Olympic team, because you really feel like you're part of a country. There's so many athletes from my country that you don't know, but as soon as you see the red, white, and blue, or the name of your country, you're just automatically behind each other.
You meet so many people from so many different walks of life. You really are exposed to a lot of different cultures, and the sense of it's not tennis, it's not you against the opponent. You kind of feel like you have the backing of a lot of other hundred athletes behind you.

Q. Going back to the Atlanta moment, which was really special for you, was it the feeling of just all the kids from around the world? Was that what made it special?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I think when you walk into a stadium, and I'm not exactly sure how many the stadium in Atlanta held, but 100, 110, I don't know exactly how many people.
But I mean, they're going absolutely crazy when we walked out, and we had been waiting like eight hours to make the march in there. We're like so excited, and you never heard -- I'll never hear a roar that big. Even though there's a thousand athletes from the U.S., 2,000, I'm not exactly sure how many, we all felt like we were together and they were all cheering for us.
And I think just all the emotions of being in the Olympics and being with the best athletes in the world was really a good time for all of us.

Q. You mentioned during the phone conference that you were impressed with Sharapova's result this year, as we all are. You play her on average once a year or so. Do you think she's progressing in her game?

Q. Or is it just about being healthy?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Every athlete, the No. 1 trick is to be healthy. But on top of that, you always have to improve your game, and that might not be adding stuff, but always kind of upping the ante with your shots.
Her groundstrokes are better today than they were the year before, than they were the year before. Her serve is better. And while she might play the same style of game, everything's gotten better. Injuries always take a toll on a player. It stops your progression. You always have to take a few steps back.
So when you are healthy and can take advantage of the offweeks and be able to train really hard, it always sets you up better for the long run.
I think she appears to be a lot more mature, playing a little bit more for herself, not kind of looking up so much and getting directions from others anymore. Someone said she won Doha without her father there, which is probably a huge step in a good direction. She's obviously becoming more of a woman is maybe a strong word there, but becoming more of an adult.
If you can make your own decisions, I think you're going to be a better player on the court.

Q. You've heard about Monica on Dancing With the Stars?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I heard she's just doing so well, so I wish her all the luck. I mean, I hope to God I don't play Monday night, because I really want to see that. I think she'll do well. I think she'll make the first few rounds. When people see her I think they'll be reminded of why they loved her so much. We'll be voting for her.

Q. Would you follow in her footsteps?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Oh, God, no. She's way too courageous for me.


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