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March 16, 2004

Lindsay Davenport


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lindsay. She plays the winner of Dulko and Irvin.

Q. Getting so easy out there for you.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, it was. I mean, Meghann is a very tough opponent. I expected a tough match and a tougher match than I've had. I think what's been really important for my tennis is being able to start off so well. I really felt like from the first game I was really sharp and putting the pressure on her. And that was important to really get on top of her because, you know, I actually watched her beat Venus last year and felt like the more she got going, the better and better she got as the match went on. I was trying to, you know, just start off with some breaks so she wouldn't feel so confident on her big serve.

Q. Talk about how much fun you're having after the surgery.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It's been a great year. I've been really excited every tournament I've entered. You know, I started off with the Hopman Cup, Sydney, Melbourne, and still ended up winning Tokyo, the end of five and a half weeks on the road, which for me says a lot because normally I'm really about fried after three or four weeks. I thought mentally really kept it together there. Felt like a load was lifted off my shoulders when I finally had the foot surgery. I feel like now I've been working as hard as I've ever worked and feel like no matter what happens, I've done everything I can to do well at these tournaments. I believe in my tennis, so I just go out there and, you know, just really confident.

Q. Can you compare how you're playing now to a patch at any time?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, it's tough. I mean, competition at the top is tougher now when everyone's playing. You know, I haven't really played, with the exception of Henin, once this year, anyone in the Top 4 or 5. I played Mauresmo in Hopman Cup. But, you know, I haven't really matched up against the very, very elite too often yet this year. But I feel physically I keep making really important strides, which is probably for my the area where I can improve the most. I feel like at 27, almost 28, my tennis isn't going to change very much over the next few years, but feel physically that's my opportunity to make some improvements for my tennis.

Q. Do you feel you're in your top form right now?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I mean, so far. You never know what happens day in and day out. But I'm certainly not complaining the way I've been playing here, the way I played my last tournament in Tokyo, which has been over a month ago. It's been great. It's just important for me to try to keep it going. If I, you know, have a day where I'm not playing so well, still try and get through the match, keep giving myself opportunities.

Q. You've won the last seven games in six sets. Do you feel in this heat it's going to be useful to you to have made your matches as brief as you have so you'll have more left?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I hope so. I mean, you know, people say, "Do you wish you had a tougher match?" You know, I mean, no. I feel great. I feel like I have enough tennis in me. I'm also playing doubles here. So keeping the matches short really isn't a concern. It has been extremely hot. I'm happy to be finished early today. Yeah, I mean, I feel like I have a lot of energy left. I don't feel fatigued at all.

Q. You had a higher winning percentage in your second serve than your first. What does that suggest?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I feel like overall my first serve percentage was pretty low out there. That was the one area that I felt like, if anything, was just slightly disappointed in. So, you know, I did a good job of still trying to win, winning games, having to hit a lot of second serves. You know, throughout the match I have thought I played really well. At the end I felt like a few more errors than what I had been doing earlier had crept into my game. But that's all I can really hang my head about.

Q. Coming into this you said you felt better than you have in a long time physically. Now that you're into this tournament, can you be more specific about the last time you felt this much in control of everything?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, unfortunately I probably can't. I really feel like, you know, since -- probably since before, you know, my knee problems in 2001. It's just been a constant struggle of, you know, little injuries here and there, some major injuries here and there. You know, a lot of downtime to just try and recover and get the injuries better, and a lot of times with that comes rest and no training. And really feel like even about a week after surgery on my foot, I started baby steps, trying to get back in shape, whether it was lifting arm weights, doing stuff like that, and then really advancing and be able to train very hard. And hopefully that's eliminated some of the minor, you know, little pulls I'd get here and there. You know, overall physically I've really held up well so far here.

Q. What was the date of your surgery?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It was mid October, I'm going to guess like the 12th, 13th, 14th, somewhere in there. Maybe the WTA knows. Right after Filderstadt. It was on a Wednesday after Filderstadt. Whatever day that is of the week.

Q. Were there apprehensions whether or not you could return to top form?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Gosh, I don't know. I mean, it was just a decision that was made. I mean, I had surgery in mid October. Actually, like I said, I started working out a week or two later with the new trainer. Didn't actually start playing tennis till around like the 10th or so of December. I remember we were in Hawaii over the Thanksgiving holiday. My family was there, and also my friend Corina and her boyfriend Justin. I remember we were all talking. I was like, "I don't know if I want to start practicing again." We had this talk at dinner one night. You know, that was a brief moment where I thought like, "Wow, maybe I won't start hitting again. I don't know." But they were all really supportive and confident. I think that was the only time where I thought like, "Maybe I'm done." Just for that brief moment. Then, you know, we got home. About 10 days later, eight days later, I started hitting again. Just gone from there.

Q. Was that more just not looking forward to all (inaudible), you knew you had to do to get back to top form?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It wasn't that. It was just what a terrible, you know, time overall I had last year on tour always being injured, you know, getting pain almost every match I played or every time I practiced, and just not wanting to go through that again. And entering and playing a lot of tournaments knowing, at least believing I had no really shot of winning, no matter how hard I tried, because I really wasn't putting in the work I needed to put in. I didn't want to go through another year kind of at 50% again. You know, once I started getting back and playing for the first week and my foot actually didn't hurt, you know, I started getting more excited about it all.

Q. Are you back to the point now where you feel every time you step out there that you're as good if not better than whoever you're playing?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, so far. But, like I said, I really haven't gotten the opportunity to play, you know, the girls that are at the very top, Serena, Venus, Justine, Kim. Like I said, I played Justine the one time. I think it would be a better gauge of that if I can get to the latter rounds and really get to play these girls. I'd very much like an opportunity here to play Justine again, you know, when Kim gets healthy, whoever it is.

Q. But at no time did you ever think about walking away?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, I don't know like how seriously. I didn't really feel a strong urge to get back out and practicing. But that was probably because the last six months I had done it, it was not a great experience. But, you know, I had a lot of support from my friends and my husband and my coach. So I don't really know like, you know, if I was really like that close. I don't know, certainly sitting on a beach in Hawaii, I seemed very close (laughter). But always seems like you never want to come back from Hawaii.

Q. After last year, are you surprised you're still ranked as high as No. 4?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. I mean, a lot of that is a lot of the other girls were injured, as well, and didn't play as much as they can. But, you know, I know I'm good enough to always be probably at a certain level of women's tennis, whatever that is. But it's definitely a lot more exciting this year to feel like I have the opportunity to win more tournaments and to move up, you know, higher in the rankings, if that be, just be able to challenge and have a chance in these tournaments.

End of FastScripts….

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