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March 17, 2004

Lindsay Davenport


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lindsay, please. Plays the winner between Dechy and Zuluaga.

Q. Giant step towards the title.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I mean, it's getting closer and closer. Yeah, I've been looking forward to this tournament since I was off about four or five weeks ago. You know, just really happy with where I'm at. I've played well the whole tournament through. I've done what's so far been expected of me. I have another big match on Friday to try to get to that final that I've been hoping for.

Q. How much confidence are you playing with right now?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, a lot. I mean, I won my last tournament in Tokyo. I've actually only had one loss this year to Henin. I've won all my other ones. I've got to be happy with that. Just feel like I've been really focused and real concentrated, you know, really positive about my matches and my outlook.

Q. Can you clarify the toe, the feeling. Is it the left?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, it's the left, I guess it would be the third and fourth toes, are now numb. I have a big scar down my foot from the surgery I had in mid October. But it's been a hundred times better than I could have ever thought to go ahead and do the surgery. I was a little apprehensive about it. But it's just worked out great. I feel no pain anymore.

Q. Numb forever?


Q. Doesn't that affect your balance or anything?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, I thought it would. But it feels so much better than just like shooting pain down there, that as soon as I came out of surgery, a few days later, after all the medicines wore off, you just get used to it. I don't know. Hard to say.

Q. Do you kind of wish you were being pushed a little more these early rounds?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I mean, I do actually feel like today I was pushed a little bit more. This girl played a lot better than the other girls I've played so far this tournament. But, you know, you can't help with what happens in matches. My most important goal is to win and win as easily and as best as I can. I can never be critical of myself for doing that, and say, "Oh, I should have lost a set here." You know, unfortunately, some of the other players have lost, some of the top-ranked players. But, you know, I can't control that.

Q. Serena confirmed yesterday that she'll be coming back at Miami. Eight months is a long time to be off. How difficult do you think she will find it?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I really don't know. I expected when Venus came back, for her not to have as many problems as so far she's had this year. I have no idea what to expect from Serena. I think it would be hard to say she's going to come back at her best. It will probably take her three to four tournaments or three to four months to really get back into the groove of playing matches and being back on the tour. But she's such a great athlete, phenomenal player, I think maybe she'll find her timing a little bit off the first few matches, but I'm sure she'll get it back rather quickly.

Q. How tough was it for you in a similar situation?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It was tough. I didn't find actually the tennis so tough as mentally. It was a huge change for me. That's what I struggled with probably the first six to eight months when I was back. I felt like my tennis was okay, but mentally it took me a long time to kind of get over the hump of playing again.

Q. What do you mean?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, I felt a lot less confident out there. Even though I was winning matches, I didn't feel the same kind of self-assurance and self-ease that I had always felt typically in matches. Just was doubting myself a little bit. I think that was from being so apprehensive about coming back from my knee surgery. It really wasn't until probably a year had gone by, maybe the middle of last year, where I finally felt like I got those negative feelings out of my system.

Q. If you had to give her one piece of advice, what would that be?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Oh, I don't know. I don't want to give her advice. I don't think that's probably the smartest thing to do. She doesn't need it from me.

Q. What do you think about these dual-gender events that aren't Slams. Do you like them?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I love them. I think it's great. This tournament, the men have really done a great service for the women by having all their players in and playing. I mean, sometimes the women, you know, when the top players play, get a lot of excitement. Here, it's definitely the men. But I think the fans like it a lot more. I think they enjoy being able to see both the top men and the top women. I think it just makes for an interesting week for everybody.

Q. Why is that a great service?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Some years, the women do a great job with some of these tournaments, like Miami last year, the Williams were there, Jennifer. The fans really get into that. This year here, unfortunately, we haven't had the top women. The men have really drawn a lot of attention and are still getting the fans here for us.

Q. Your thoughts on the 96 draw?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, we've been in a 96 for a number of years. I think it's fine. It's spread over 10 days. I mean, we have plenty of days off. It's not like we're all bunched in.

Q. 32 seeds, you probably like that as a player because you're playing a 64-person tournament. Would you like that if you were ranked 40?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I would imagine. More players get the chance to be in the main draw. I haven't heard too many players complain about it.

Q. You talked about your confidence coming back. Is that against all players or is that against the top players? Coming back for her next week, they're a lot of top players not around at the moment.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I mean, it's probably a good tournament for her to come back because the first few rounds, you're going to play players ranked outside the top 40. It gives her a chance not to be so tested in the first few rounds. But I think it's just in your game overall. And this is strictly speaking for me personally. You know, I'm not saying she's going to have any doubts. You know, everything is individual to the player, but I think, like I said, it's a great tournament for her to start off. If she meets a top player, it's not going to be until she has three or four matches under her belt. I'm sure she will have gained and built some momentum up to that point.

Q. With no Clijsters, Henin, Capriati.

THE MODERATOR: Yeah, they are still in.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: That's not true. They're still in the draw in Miami. I think everyone -- Jennifer said she plans to play there. I don't think anyone knows about Kim. I think Amelie plans to go. I think it's still going to be hopefully a strong field.

Q. Do you think you've been tested adequately?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I can't help that if a match gets to 5-All in the third, who is to say I wouldn't do any better if I didn't already have a close match. Hopefully I won't get to that point at all in these 10 days.

Q. You could argue with some players as bad as it sounds, a serious injury helped them have a longer career, gave them more perspective. Do you think that might be possible for Serena in on odd way?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Like I said, each player and each injury is so personal, you know, I think they've always said they're not going to play 10 to 15 years. So, I don't know. Maybe this helps her play a little bit more, helps her play more tournaments, because she sees she misses it. You know, I think she's so early in her career, she's only 21, I think it's still a relatively early time for her to go through something like this.

Q. What about your fitness? How would you compare your fitness now to when you were winning the Slams?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think it's a lot better now, ironically. I think I put a lot more time and effort into that than anything else that I do. It's been a great, great thing for me. At least the last six months I've tried to do some different things, tried a lot harder at it, have really enjoyed it. Hopefully I'll be able to stay down that path, injury-free, I can still train that hard.

Q. What different things?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I started working out with a new trainer in November. We just started doing a lot more sprints and balance. Weight training I've always done, but just some more explosive training that really my game lacks, my footwork.

Q. Would you put a percentage on how much fitter you are now than before? 25% fitter?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: That's hard. I mean, on a scale of 1 to 10, I think I still have a long ways to go. It's so hard. I don't even remember five years ago, six years ago when I was winning Slam where I was at. I would say I'm quite a large percentage in better shape.

Q. You've been world No. 1, Grand Slams, Gold in the Olympics, what are the short-term and long-term goals for you right now?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I think short-term goals as far as this year goes would be to try and, you know, assert myself back at the top and try and be a legitimate contender again to win the bigger titles. I feel I'm in a better position to do that now than last year. I kind of look forward to that challenge. I feel like I've been working very hard and it gives me a lot of motivation to try and do that. Other than that, there's not a lot. I mean, I enjoy playing. I've had a very good time the last few months and I'm going to continue to try and build on that while I'm healthy and while I enjoy it.

Q. Can you handicap your potential semifinal opponents?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, played each of them maybe once or twice. Don't have large match records against either one of them. But I couldn't tell you right now who's going to win. I don't know if they've ever played each other or whatever. Dechy, you know, I know is coming back from a wrist injury. Takes the ball pretty early, hits the ball pretty flat. And Fabiola is I think probably more comfortable on the clay courts, although she got to the semis of the Australian Open. On both of them I'll probably look to dictate the points, get them on the defensive. I mean, game strategy is pretty much the same whoever I go out to play, whoever wins.

Q. You do everything well on the court. What don't you do well off court?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: So many things. I don't cook. Yeah, that's probably the worst thing.

Q. Sampras said he couldn't cook. Magic Johnson said he couldn't carry a tune.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Can't carry a tune, can't cook, have no artistic abilities, terrible in bowling. There's a whole list of things that I'm probably not going to tap into my potential.

Q. In Australia you were suggesting that you were wanting to start a family, questioning whether this would be your last year. Have you had any more thoughts on that?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think last year I went through those thoughts maybe more so than this year. I feel a lot more motivated and a lot more excited to play tennis and to be on the road this year than I did last year. I think a lot of that had to do with my foot injury, just kind of the overall negative feelings that an injury can harbor inside you. Yeah, it's something I very much look forward to, and my husband also. But, you know, as far as the immediate future, I mean, I would still foresee it being a couple years away.

Q. Would that also maybe be linked into there not being such dominance as there was with Serena and Venus any more?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, I don't think so. I mean, I went through last year, July through September, without them. Those were some of the worst months I ever played. I was really just struggling with my foot and trying to keep playing. I don't think it's that related. Maybe if you ask me if six more months when everybody is back playing full-time, I'll have a different answer.

Q. You mentioned the other day you might be playing fewer tournaments. Would you find it interesting to go to new places like Stockholm, where you haven't played before?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I'm very much so a creature of habit. I have a very strict routine at home. Every year it seems like I play the same tournaments. This year I've taken some off. I haven't added any new cities as of yet. You know, I think overall it's a pretty basic schedule for myself to play. I mean, I try and play mostly in the States because it's closer to home and it's easier to get back there. This summer we have three tournaments that are so close to my house. As for this year, I'm going to stick to relatively the same schedule. Maybe next year I might deviate a little bit more.

End of FastScripts….

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