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August 26, 2002

Lindsay Davenport


MODERATOR: Questions for Lindsay.

Q. In general, how do you feel about the way you're hitting the ball?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I feel actually really, really good. I was really excited for the tournament to start. I felt like last week I made huge strides in pretty much every aspect of my game and felt like I started to do things a lot better, it at least came more naturally. I'm just ready to go. I mean, I've been waiting to play a Grand Slam all year long. It was, you know, a long wait. I feel like this is definitely the freshest I've been going into a US Open, obviously because I haven't played all year. I just was so excited to get it going today.

Q. Those ones that you couldn't play, did you watch any of those on TV? What was it like?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I would watch it. The toughest one I've said all along was Australia because I really held out hope until late December that I'd still be able to go there, even though I wasn't really practicing much, my knee really wasn't cooperating. That was a time when I was in the hospital and coming out of it. The first two weeks after any surgery, the first weak especially, is probably the toughest part. That was when I was watching the Australian Open. But after that I was fine watching them. I knew I wouldn't be able to compete in most likely either of them, so at that point it was okay.

Q. During a low point, was there a point at which it crossed your mind you might not be back here?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No, no. I mean, for about a half hour after I found out I needed surgery, I think I cried the whole drive home. Then I was ready to go. I mean, that was all it took.

Q. I'm doing a story on these big balls that the kids give to you guys to sign. Do you show any favoritism towards those?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Oh, it's so much easier. I always gravitate towards those when there's a group of kids that want an autograph. The ball is so small, it's hard to get your grip on it. Those, it's big, it's round, no problem.

Q. Isn't it unfair because the rich kids can buy these; the poor kids have the regular ball.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I know. I do try to sign them all.

Q. As someone who saw Corina when she was very sick, can you just describe -- how would you describe the fact that she's going to be playing tonight in a featured match? Does it seem like a small miracle to you?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Oh, yeah. I mean, what really surprises me is how great she looks physically. If you look at like her body now, she looks just as strong as before she left. I mean, that must have taken her so long to recover from. I remember being here at The Open last year and she had no muscle, obviously had no hair, was very frail. You see her now, it almost seems like that didn't really happen to her last year. It's really amazing.

Q. Will you watch her match?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I'll watch it. I don't know if I'm going to come back out here. I was here at about 9:00 this morning. I don't think I'll stay here all these hours. But, no, I definitely plan to watch it. I think it should be fun for her. She obviously has nothing to lose. Hopefully she goes out there and plays really well.

Q. How long do you have to go before you reach your 2000 level, your highest level?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't know. I wish I did. But, like I said, I feel like I've gotten better every week. These last few days is actually the best I've practiced since I started coming back. I don't know. I don't know if that takes, you know, beating a Williams or a very top player to then get me going or if it takes winning some more tournaments. I don't know. But I'm not there. I definitely have made huge strides getting there.

Q. So your confidence level isn't maybe quite up to where it needs to be for you to beat a Venus or a Serena?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It's a lot higher than it was two weeks ago (smiling). You know, I don't know what happens in the next -- I can't play one of them for 10 or 11 days, however the schedule works out. I felt like I played at least one good set last week, which was a big improvement from zero in San Diego. You know, I'll look to capitalize, try and work on that.

Q. When you visited with Corina when she was sick, did she talk about getting back here and playing again, or were there times she was talking about her desire to want to live at that point?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Didn't really talk about any plans of the future. I mean, that's kind of a weird thing to bring up. When I saw her in the hospital, that was certainly not on my mind or probably on her mind, it was more about getting through each day. She called me to tell me she was going to start playing again. That wasn't until January or February. I was at home, but I was still on crutches. She said, "Yeah, I'm going to try to come back this summer." That was the first I heard. I never brought it up until she brought it up to me.

Q. Last week you kind of talked about how you were happy to be playing, but you said you had to get past that point. Did a switch flip for you today, "I'm at The Open"?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, it happened after pretty much the first week where I did well and I was like, "Oh, that's a bummer, that's over." I was just happy to be playing, and I did well. There were a lot of expectations that I put back on myself. But when we got here yesterday, I was really excited. My attitude on the court in practice was one of excitement, happy to be here. It helps so much when you feel like you can practice at a hundred percent and nothing's bothering you. Hopefully that carries over into the matches.

Q. Before Palo Alto, you set your expectations quite low. Things have changed quite a bit. What would be a successful US Open to you?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, obviously winning it (laughter). You know, I haven't really thought about what would make me happy. You know, I've seen my little section of the draw, but I haven't looked too far past that. I mean, you know, I know, people have told me. But I feel like if I keep up a good level of play, I'm a contender. You know, obviously a lot depends on what happens in the draw and who's playing well and who's not. But I'm just going to worry about myself. If I am playing as well as I can, if I play at the level I know I'm capable of, I think I can do very well.

Q. Since you came back, have you had people coming up to you, "We're looking at you to make a challenge to the Williams sisters"?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: A couple people have said that. I just say back to them, "Well, you could have done it when I was gone." Yeah, I mean, players definitely have said that to me. But, you know, I don't worry about that. I don't look like I'm the one that's supposed to do it. I think there are 126 other players in this draw. The responsibility is shared equally.

Q. Jennifer said a couple weeks ago she felt like she was shouldering too much of the load of being the challenger to the Williams sisters. Do you think she should have taken it upon herself?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No, I mean, I think you worry about how you're doing. Once you're at a tournament, I don't think it matters who is in the finals or really who goes on to win it. I've never looked at myself like I was supposed to stop anything from happening. I did read where she said that. I don't really relate to that. I mean, if I lose to one of them, I mean, I could care less who plays in the finals or who then wins it.

Q. Do you think it was the right decision to seed you fourth here?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I mean, I didn't really know what was going to happen. Obviously, the WTA had instituted a policy for me for their tournaments. I didn't know what the USTA would do with that. That was nice that they did it. I guess when they explained to me when Steffi had this a couple years ago, they gave her the benefit of the doubt. I think they did it based on my performances this summer that have been very good. I think that the players behind me wasn't like a lot of them stepped up and were winning tournaments. Dokic had a good summer, but she wasn't winning all those tournaments. I think they felt it was safer to go with the WTA's request instead of make up their own as they went along.

End of FastScripts….

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