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January 17, 2003

Lindsay Davenport


MODERATOR: Questions for Lindsay.

Q. You were looking a lot more comfortable today.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, it was a great match for me to play. I played exactly the way I wanted to play, which was attacking a lot of balls and going for my shots. You know, today they were falling in. Sometimes when you struggle through a match and maybe don't play your best, there's somewhat of a load taken off your shoulders, where I think the next time you play you feel a lot more free on the court. I was really happy to be first on. I really just, no matter what, wanted to play aggressive and be in charge of the points. That's I think when I play my best tennis, when I'm inside the baseline, going for my shots. I was able to do it today just the way I wanted to do it.

Q. Happy to be first on just to get it over?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I was so happy. I've had just a lot of late matches here in Australia, from a lot of night matches in Sydney, to fourth and third. I was begging to be first on. I was very, very happy about that.

Q. You're playing Justine Henin in the fourth round. She wasn't too happy with the draw, meeting you in the fourth. How do you feel about that?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: She's got to win, I think, later today. I don't want to say too much. You know, the chances are probably great that I'll play her. Yeah, I mean, we've played a bunch of times. Obviously with me being seeded out of the top eight, I was going to get somebody five through eight. You know, I'm happy to be here playing and have the opportunity again. It's nice to be the underdog, semi the underdog. I don't think I've ever lost to her, but to be seeded below her. You know, I just want to play like I did today, which is attacking the balls, not letting her dictate the points. I mean, she is obviously a very, very good player. You know, I'm going to try to overpower her and keep the balls deep on her.

Q. Do you really feel like the underdog?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, it's what it says, right (laughter)?

Q. Is that motivational, looking at a draw, having won three Grand Slam titles, seeing 9 by your name?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It's funny. Such a different position for me to be in. I mean, I think I've been in the top -- I don't know when the last time I was out of the Top 4 seeds, probably sometime in '97 or '96. I don't exactly know. But it's a great position to be in after all these years. And to feel like I'm there, basically because I couldn't play, not from my bad play, not playing the first six or seven months of last year obviously is going to hurt your ranking. But it is nice. I still feel like I belong at the top of the game, so I don't feel like I'll be happy with a loss. In terms of where I was going in the draw, I was really curious to see whose kind of section I would be put in.

Q. Good coaching tradition in the Leach family. Do you think Rick had that in him?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I didn't quite go that far. I don't know if it's in your genes or not in your genes. Obviously, it's a family heavily involved in tennis. The most important thing I was looking for in a coach is a good relationship, a good player, someone that you respect, and someone that has a lot of class. You know, obviously he fits all of those bills. Really, that was the most important thing.

Q. He's a pretty low-key guy like Robert. How does he differ from him?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: That was one of the main reasons that I chose Rick, a lot of similarities to Robert. Because of their friendship and closeness over the years, I felt it was really important to stick with something familiar. Yeah, I mean, you know, I think Rick is obviously still learning about the aspects of coaching. I mean, I'm his first kind of coaching stint. He did a little bit of college coaching. But really the first time kind of out, and especially on the women's tour, just trying to get to know the other women, getting to know me and my tennis more. But, you know, there was nothing I wanted to change drastically in my game. There was nothing that I thought needed to totally get rehauled. So he's trying to kind of keep what Robert started going, you know, work on things here and there.

Q. Did you ask him? Did he mention it to you? How did it come up?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I was quietly looking from around September on. Robert had conveyed to me that he would prefer not to do this full-time, and if I could just maybe think about finding someone else, but he would stay with me as long as it took till I found the right person. I didn't really know what to do. I didn't really want to start over. I didn't want to get some guru, someone like that. It really came about where John mentioned it to Rick, that Robert didn't really want to travel anymore. He was supposed to play this year. He said, "Well, I'd be really interested. I'd stop playing if that could work out." I was really happy about that. I had no intentions of asking him because I knew he intended to play this year. So he was very, very nice, nice of him to offer to do that. I was kind of happy when that came around.

Q. Do you think your level of play in this tournament is high enough to beat Justine Henin?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Sure. I mean, she was probably more unhappy about the draw than I was. You know, I mean, she's obviously a good player. When you've never beaten someone, it's a little bit of a different pressure involved. But I see no reason why I couldn't.

Q. Do you think you're still far away from your best level?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, today was great. I mean, I played exactly the kind of match I wanted to play. I kept the points exactly how I should play the points. Yeah, I mean, if I play like that, I think I'll have no problem. But that's the deal with tennis: you've got to try to get yourself to that level every time you step out on the court. That's what's so hard.

Q. High enough to go all the way?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Who knows. I mean, I've got a tough match the next match. I will just take that match and then go from there if I should win.

Q. Drug testing has been a bit of a topic of discussion. What's your stand on that?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I've been a huge supporter of it. I think if we're going to be a sport very well-respected around the world and be equal to the other leading sports, we have to keep up with all the drug testing techniques. It's not so much that I think drugs are abused in the sport, but why not? I mean, we're an Olympic sport. We're one of the greatest sports in the world. We should be able to keep up with the drug testing.

Q. Do you have an opinion on Kevin Wulff's departure? Does his leaving and Josh's leaving signify an organization in turmoil?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It just seems that we cannot find the right person for that job. We definitely don't want somebody in the job that doesn't love it and doesn't have their heart into it. I think he's already moved on to another job. You know, we'll start looking again. Whether it takes five more people or two more people, it's imperative that we get a leader in there that really believes in us and believes where we can go. You know, we'll keep trying again. We just haven't found the right person yet.

Q. What difference does that make to the players?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't think a huge difference. I think if we found somebody really great to fall behind, it could make a difference. But right now, I mean, the tour, we're in a great position because of all the players, how women's tennis is doing right now. We just think it's a matter of time before we find the right person to kind of make women's tennis explode even more.

Q. What can they improve? What areas?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I think you're always trying to grow the sport more, get more people involved, get more tournaments, get more fans at tournaments. We've been really successful the last few years in getting more media, getting more print articles. But there's no question that we want to remain the leading women's sport in the world. You have to just keep up with the times and keep trying to get better and better. I think the players have really done a fantastic job with that, and now we just have to do more, I think, in the marketing standpoint all around the world.

Q. The last time you played Henin she was angry with you afterwards because she thought you faked an injury.


Q. How do you feel about that? Do you think it was frustration on her part having lost the fifth time?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I thought so. I mean, I laughed about it a little bit because I won the first set, and then I got hurt, so I wasn't quite sure why she thought I would fake it. I think she was frustrated. If she had played a smarter game out there, there's no way I could have won. She couldn't hit a ball on the court all of a sudden when I called the trainer out twice. It's definitely something I'm not known for. I mean, my friends all thought it was pretty funny. Whatever. I think she puts a lot of pressure on herself sometimes, maybe just, you know, couldn't get the ball in anymore. So it wasn't my fault that I won. But I was certainly lucky to get through because my leg wasn't in great shape.

Q. When you run into her tomorrow, is that something that will go through your mind?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No, no. I was over it the next day.

Q. Did she say something to you?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: She said I was faking an injury.

Q. To you or in the media?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Just to the media. They relayed it. I don't exactly know her exact quote. It happened right on set point in the first set tiebreak. I honestly could not move. She could not hit a ball in the court. I didn't want to stop because she was double-faulting and missing balls, so I stayed out there and won. You know, the first set was good tennis. I thought we both played really well. Unfortunately, the level dropped significantly in the second set.

Q. Did you talk about it with her?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No. We're not very -- I mean, she's -- we don't have really a relationship off the court. I don't dislike her or anything. We just play different tournaments a lot of the times and never have really been close, I guess.

Q. Are you going to hold a grudge?


Q. You had Bart, Kevin. They don't have much of a public profile. Do you think it would be useful to have a former player, like Martina, get involved in the upper levels of management of the WTA?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think it's great to stay within the sport. But I think in the CEO job as it's described, I think someone with a business background that can be a great business person, man or woman, be a great leader and know the sport is what we're looking for. We cannot find that person. A former player would be great, although I think they would lack just everyday sense in the business world, knowledge about deals or companies, maybe not have as good of contacts as someone in the business world. But we struggled in finding someone who still understands women's tennis and still understands tennis as a sport and all the entities that are involved, and still be a great leader and great business person. I'm sure if you knew of anybody, they'd be very happy to take your recommendations. It's tough.

Q. You're one of the players who are always asked things about any subject because you always seem to have a good answer. You seem to think about things a lot. How do you feel about that?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It's fine (laughter). I mean, I like to think people ask me opinions because I give intelligent answers. It's fine. I mean, I don't like to be the spokeswoman of the WTA Tour. You know, like I said, hopefully I give intelligent answers and give a side of the players that's more than, "Oh, I hit my forehand well, I hope to win the tournament."

Q. So it's your own fault?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't know. It's your fault (smiling).

Q. You're not applying for the job of CEO?


End of FastScripts….

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