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March 19, 2005

Lindsay Davenport


Q. If you had a minute to talk to kids, I asked Sharapova this yesterday, how to be successful in life and in tennis, what would you tell them?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Not what I was expecting (laughter). I would say the most important thing is to always enjoy what you're doing. You probably won't get very far if you don't, first of all, like what your goals are. To always keep things in perspective.

Q. (Inaudible) all the momentum swings.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, it was crazy. You know, started off really well and was really excited about that. Kind of continued where I was yesterday, being aggressive and going for my shots. Was able in those first few games to pull out some close ones and get a good lead. As quickly as I was pulling those games out, I was losing them. I was up in the next four games. Had game points in a lot of them. She kept fighting back and winning them. Pretty soon I felt like the tide turned from me being the aggressor to her being the aggressor and really moving the ball around a lot more. It's funny, when things start spiraling, you feel like they're out of your control. And I felt pretty soon like I was behind the baseline, and she was inside the baseline. And that's not what I wanted to happen.

Q. Any similarities to the Australian Open final?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Not exactly, because I felt -- different match, different conditions. I mean, I didn't end up winning the first set here, came back and won the second. But I felt like I played better tennis in the first, which was kind of bizarre not to end up winning that. You know, like I said, all of a sudden when she got on the board, she felt a little bit more comfortable to be aggressive, and I felt like I was on the run more.

Q. Did the line calls contribute to that at all?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No. I mean, there's a lot of close calls in every match. I was getting a bit frustrated that they were always coming late. But, you know, it's hard to judge it on that. You know, certainly a few points here or there in a match like that didn't make the difference.

Q. You're in excellent shape. What did prevail, maybe because she was fresh coming out of all the injuries?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I really felt like, like I said, she was the one dictating play, and that's not the position that I do my best in. I felt like I was not winning enough free points serving. As the match went on, I felt like she started to hit her serve better, gave her a little bit more confidence to go for some shots, and she started hitting some great up-the-line shots. I was left at the end not sure where she was going, guessing more than really hitting the ball deep and looking for short ones.

Q. As someone who has had an injury layoff yourself, been off for a time, does it affect someone's attitude, does it affect the way you approach play coming back, just in the early stages of coming back from a layoff?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I mean, it could. Every player is different with how they handle things. But I don't know. For me, it was I had a lot of success when I came back, but it was difficult. You know, she always has seemed to handle a lot of adversity very well. Seems to have a good attitude. Was very eager, is eager to keep going. So for her I think she's really just focused on getting back at the top of the rankings.

Q. On the close-up camera, you were saying a lot of things to yourself in the end. Can you tell us what you were saying?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, it was tough. I was really -- I really felt like I needed to, like I've been saying, get back on top and be more forceful with my shots and just felt like I couldn't do it. Pretty soon I felt like I didn't know where she was going, really got out of the flow of the match, instead of being the one with the deep shots and kind of leading the pace of the match. Was, you know, trying to get myself to serve a little bit better, you know, not let her be in control.

Q. In what way, if any, was she a different player from three years ago?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I didn't see much difference. I wish I did (laughter). She gave me fits two years ago and she gave me fits today.

Q. We talked earlier about the WTA saying she's the lowest-ranked player ever to win a Tier I, which is really bogus, but... Kim said last week she didn't even think about taking an injury ranking. I would think for somebody in your situation, you could go to Miami and draw her in the first round or something.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, well, it's tough. They've changed the rules after what happened last year with all the special seedings. The tour made a rule that they would never special seed someone again. I don't think she had that option. The other thing, she was out two periods of five months, then played a tournament. You have to be out exactly six months to get any special ranking. And both times she missed it by a few weeks by trying to come back. It was pretty complicated in her situation, as she tried to play in Berlin, then tried to play in the fall, in September, and then came back again in February. It was never six months. But while all these discussions were going on last year, she was always very -- just very positive saying, "I don't care what happens. If I get healthy, I just want to play, don't worry about anything." You know, as far as looking at what her ranking is today, is, like you said, bogus. I mean, all the players out there know what a great player she is. Even though she just started coming back, look at the players she's already beaten. That's an interesting little stat that we'll keep written down (laughter). But I think players know she's better than --

Q. 133?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: 133, exactly.

Q. Did the thought ever occur to you you could win this match love-love?


Q. You were ahead 4-Love, you had four breakpoints.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No, I wasn't thinking that. I was thinking, "I think I just won three sets 6-0 and I'm up 3-Love again." No, I mean, you know that Kim is a great fighter and a great player. Something that happens yesterday isn't going to happen two days in a row. I don't think that's really possible.

Q. You've been in two back-to-back really big finals, first Dubai, now here. Coming from Serbia, I would really like you to compare your final here against Kim and Jelena's game in Dubai.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: That was an exciting final in Dubai. She had a lot of people from Serbia there cheering her on. It made for a really great atmosphere, almost like a Fed Cup-type match. It was really exciting play there. I was really happy with my decision to go to Dubai and experience the country and was happy I was able to come home with the title after a really tough final. Here I felt a lot of -- I'm really happy playing here, and a lot of friends in the area that come out here every year to just watch the tournament, see them around. Definitely they were a little bit more rowdy in Dubai, but still a pleasure to play in front of any fans that truly enjoy tennis. And I felt that in both spots.

Q. What do you think about Jelena's game?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I think she's a good player. She's improved a lot. I wasn't actually aware she was the No. 1 junior when we were playing. Someone told me that. I think she's got great groundies. I think she could maybe serve a little bit better, but working on that. And she's still young. She moves great and has great groundies.

Q. Was that a farewell speech?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't know. It could be. You know, it's definitely not of my career, so that's a good point. But, gosh, I don't know. It would be great if I could give another speech to them next year. But you never know if you're back in a final. But, you know, the fans here really do mean a lot to me. I feel like I started it all here. If it is or if it isn't, I just wanted everybody to know that I do love playing here and appreciate everything.

Q. You shoveled here before the stadium was erected. There is word the tournament might be in trouble. Any thoughts on that?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, that would be a shame. I was hoping to keep coming out here and at least watch the next 10 or 15 years. You know, hopefully they work it out. I know that there's been some solutions thrown around about different entities bringing money in. But it's a great place to play. Always enjoyed it.

Q. Do you ever find yourself when you're making a speech thinking, "This might be the last one here"?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: God, I know. I think my voice started to crack a little bit. I was like, "Oh, no, please." I don't know. I mean, I thought maybe last year was, too, and was able to come back in the finals again, be able to do that again. But, you know, it's funny, it doesn't cross my mind when I'm playing, it crosses my mind more when the match is over. I'm like, "Oh, no." But, yeah, it's an interesting situation to be in. I'm kind of happy that I don't know what's going to happen and play out because if you do make these plans, sometimes they don't work out.

Q. Do you think you could have been this upbeat after losing the final seven years ago, eight years ago?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I don't know. You know, I've definitely learned over the years, if you don't play your best, someone else does, you can't expect to win and there's nothing you can do to change that. While I started off playing well, she did enough things to get me out of my game and came in there, you know, threw everything at me and managed to turn it around. Sometimes you just have to say, "Good job," to the opponent. I felt like I tried really hard here. I played well. It simply wasn't good enough today. Couldn't play well for another hour or so. You know, I'm going to go home today. I have a wonderful husband, my family and, you know, I'll be out on the court again in a week and I'm sure it will all start over again.

Q. It's all gravy from here on?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, kind of. It's really tough to beat yourself up all the time about it. You beat yourself up in practice trying to get better, you beat yourself up in warmups trying to play better for matches. Almost sometimes when the tournament is over, it's just kind of a nice, "Okay, I did my best and now it's over." You know, I've got everything to be thankful for and I try to look at it that way.

Q. How sick are you of playing Belgians here in the finals?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I know, God, these girls, I thought for sure I could turn it around here (smiling). I mean, these two are really good players and really, really great athletes. You know, I'll keep trying and hopefully get another chance in another good final. But, you know, they both have been beset with injuries, but they both are great players.

Q. After taking the second set, did you think you could regain the momentum?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I was trying. I was hoping. I actually felt like I had more momentum in the first set and lost it, and was playing better. But tried and then it didn't happen.

End of FastScripts….

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