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January 16, 2005

Lindsay Davenport


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lindsay, please.

Q. How are you feeling?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I'm feeling better. I've definitely got some more energy the last few days, gotten most of my voice back. So much better. Seem to be kind of over the hump the doctor thinks. So I feel good.

Q. So would you be close to a hundred percent?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I'm a hundred percent playing. I mean, hopefully I am. I've practiced pretty hard the last two days and feel good. Of course, you never know till you're out playing in a match and running a lot. But I would think especially by Tuesday I should be hopefully a hundred percent.

Q. How much do you think it will take out of you? It is such a long tournament.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, you never know (laughter). I start off against a tough opponent in the tournament where you have to work pretty hard out there and be ready to stay out there a while. So hopefully it doesn't affect me at all on Tuesday. And then play it by -- just see how it goes, play it day to day. You know, hopefully my energy level is near a hundred percent, and it won't be a factor.

Q. Did your heart sort of sink when you so Conchita's name?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: A little bit. I mean, you know, I've played her so many times, and obviously much better the last few years than the first few years of my career. But it's definitely an opponent, regardless of history, that makes me hit a lot of balls. So in some ways it's good because it forces me to mentally really start concentrating from point -- you know, day one and really be focused and not allow myself to kind of get into these lapses and not be a hundred percent focused. But the other thing is I'm going to have to be ready to last a while. So I think I will be. I just hit for two hours and everything seemed good, so I think I'll be okay.

Q. How difficult is it to get used to such different conditions when you come overseas from the Northern Hemisphere down here where it's so hot?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I mean, you never know what you're going to get here, if you're going to get really hot here or cool and mild in Melbourne. Had a couple hot days in Sydney which hopefully prepared me well for here. Tough I had to take, you know, two days off and get back into the swing of things. And it doesn't seem like the forecast is too terrible for the next few days, so hopefully that won't be an issue.

Q. There's a lot of talk about how open women's tennis is right now, and also this tournament. Just wonder what your thoughts were about that.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, it seemed last year was the most open it had been in probably forever, a very long time, with four different Slam winners - three relative underdogs to win the French, Wimbledon, US Open. So it kind of proved that you really can't these days have a sure bet on who is going to actually come through and win. I think that might change if everyone at the top of the game is a hundred percent healthy and competing. You might see that maybe alter a little bit. But proved a lot last year: whoever's playing the best and the most consistent was the winner. Didn't have to do with who was the bigger name or who was supposed to win; it was just whoever was left standing at the end.

Q. What do you think the Ericsson deal will do concretely for the tour? Were you surprised it happened at a time when there really hasn't been a lot of healthy women playing at the same time on the tour?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yes and no. I mean, surprised that the last few years we weren't able to get a big sponsor. So happy that such a great company like Sony Ericsson would come on and really put so much money and so much trust into our sport and into our game and into our players. We have a huge potential in the amount of players that we have right now that are marketable and exciting, that encompass more than just the sport. So it's a really positive step. I think that the stronger and the bigger company you have behind you, the more things you're able to accomplish and the more people you're able to reach. I think we have that potential certainly with this company.

Q. What's it going to mean in terms of concrete things for you guys, as well?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: We'll see. The last time I had this experience was when Phillip Morris was a sponsor, and they left shortly when I first started. But everyone says those were great days. But hopefully the tour runs a little bit more smoothly and we have bigger budget obviously for more staff and stuff like that. I imagine that technology-wise things will probably change for the players some bit. They were talking a lot about text messaging and scoring and stats, how they can use their technology, last night in the meeting. But I'm as curious as anyone to see exactly what a good sponsor, how it will affect us (smiling).

Q. It's been a number of years since you've won a Slam, yet you're now the world No. 1. Are the rankings a true reflection of where women's tennis is at?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't know. The rankings are always up to debate from the media. I mean, as a player, you just kind of play where you play; can't control how many points you get for winning a match or winning a tournament. But apparently I was the most consistent one, achieving the most amount of points last year. I wish I could have a Slam and be ranked 4, but definitely can't change the way that works. Just try to do my best in the tournaments I enter. The overlying goal is to win a Grand Slam, and I do my best to do that. Whatever the rankings show, if I'm 1 or 6 or 2, I mean, that doesn't really affect me.

Q. What do you put your consistency down to last year, what part of your game?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, after Wimbledon I just got on a roll where there was really no doubt in my game. I knew the shots I wanted to hit. They were falling in for the second half of last year, and was really having a good time. It was a couple years since I had played that way - at least in my mind. I was just happy to see it come back. I wasn't sure if it would.

Q. After Wimbledon, I had the impression you were ready to call it quits by the end of last year. You seem to have had a big revival after that. How much longer can you keep playing?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, I have no idea. I really -- I have no clue. I really was ready to quit last year. I don't know if that took some pressure off or what. But finally I played tennis that I hadn't played in a few years. And it's hard when you're used to a certain level and you go down a level. You essential don't want to -- I don't want to be out there and be really a bad player that I'm not used to being. I just thought I wasn't in contention to win the Grand Slams any more. And then in the summer, that kind of all changed when I won a lot of matches, really was a big favorite at The Open, had definitely tons of opportunity -- a great opportunity to win there. It didn't come true. But kind of proved to myself that, you know, as long as you still have the opportunity and chance to win a Grand Slam, it's kind of hard to walk away at that point. I really was at Wimbledon completely ready to walk away. Kind of changed in the next few months. So I don't really know what this year will bring. I have no plans. I have learned you can't really control these things or plan these things. Whatever happens, it will happen.

Q. Did you just go for everything after you'd drawn a line? Did that sort of loosen you up a little bit?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Maybe. Must have. That's what people have told me (laughter). Looked like I played better and more free on the court. I don't know. I try not to analyze it too much.

Q. Do you think had the injury not happened in New York and you'd gone on to win the title, that would have been too tempting to quit then?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think I would still be here if fate had been different, as well. Either way, I mean. You know, I think it happened before The Open. Certainly the injury there, and not coming through, was a setback. But my mindset had probably changed in the weeks leading up to the US Open.

Q. I wanted to ask you about preparation for this Australian Open because it's so different to the other three Grand Slams. You played one match. What do you think is like an optimum preparation by way of matches?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't know. I've tried a lot of different ways. Last year with Hopman Cup, Sydney, played tons of matches before, lost in the quarters. This year unfortunately I only got one match in and had to take some days off really close to the start of the Slam. So hopefully that's the secret. I don't know (laughter). It obviously would be better if I played a couple more matches. Can't control what transpired last week. But I think everybody's different. Some people like to play a few matches and then take the week off before here. Seems to work well for some people. I typically like to play the week before Grand Slams, kind of stay out of the Grand Slam arena till the tournament starts. But hopefully this will work out just as well for me.

Q. Were you surprised to see that Martina Hingis is putting her foot back in the water? How do you think she'll end up doing?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. I mean, yes and no I'm surprised. I was surprised when she quit, so... I didn't think -- I believe she was only 21 or 22 when she did quit. I think she's still 23 or 24 now. Surprised that someone quit that young that still, I thought, could have made a better comeback from all her surgeries if she'd given it more time. I told her that. I guess I'm not too surprised. I thought she would come back. I think she's a good enough player to come back. Whether she'll be the dominant force, if she plays full-time, number one, or if she wants to see where she would be, I don't know. I know she's just playing that one small tournament. I don't think she's announced anything else, but we'll see how that goes for her. I'm sure she'll do well there. I mean, if she's been practicing... She's obviously a great player.

Q. Having seriously pondered retirement, do you find yourself coming into these tournaments thinking, "Well, this is maybe the last one that I'll play here"?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Sometimes (smiling).

Q. Does that affect your mental preparation?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It doesn't so much until after. I mean, like leaving two days ago thinking, "Gosh, I wonder if that's how I'll leave Sydney," just having to pull out and telling the fans how sorry I was. But it doesn't seem to affect me while I'm playing. I mean, I don't know. It's just a funny thought. But it's funny because I don't know if that's true or not, so it's a weird position to be in. But obviously I know my times at Grand Slams are coming to a close, however many more I play, whether it's two or six or whatever. I don't know. I don't think about it till I think the tournament's over probably.

Q. When you decided to play this year, do you actually set the whole calendar year and think, "I'm committed," or do you say, "I'll play when I want to, but if I get into a bit where I don't feel like playing, that will be it"?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: My calendar is set through the US Open in terms of my coach and my schedules and stuff. So that's done. Hopefully it goes smoothly all the way through.

Q. Are you the sort of player that could continue when you feel that you're no longer competitive at Grand Slams?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I would doubt it (smiling). I don't know. I don't think so. I feel like I'm playing this year because I do have a good chance, or I have a chance, or whatever percentage that is. Hard to walk away if you feel like you've left business unfinished. And I feel like I still have that potential. Last year with the different winners that we had, the couple times I came very close, it certainly gives you hope and encouragement to keep working hard towards your goal.

Q. Tennis is such a global sport. What kind of talk is there among the players about the tsunami? How has that affected you? Are players talking about it in the locker room?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't talk to that many players in the locker room, so I don't know exactly. But I was really touched even seeing Carlos Moya donate his winning check in Chennai. It's pretty remarkable. Here, there's obviously much more coverage than we get in the States in terms of CNN and all the news channels cover it in a lot more detail. Unfortunately, if it doesn't affect the United States too much, they don't actually give too much time to it. It's been interesting to see a different perspective from a different part of the world. I mean, to see some of the videos that have come out have been just horrifying. You realize it affected so many different areas. It wasn't just one country that was hit. I mean, I think the players have done a great job. I've heard of other players doing stuff. They're trying to I think get together. Someone talked to me about some kind of charity thing here to try and keep, you know, raising money for it. Hopefully it keeps going well. I don't know.

Q. Have you talked to players from those areas affected?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Not really. I don't know -- I mean, I guess Tami Tanasugarn. Do we have any players?


LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Basuki quit. I haven't seen them, no, sorry.

End of FastScripts….

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