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August 27, 2001

Lindsay Davenport


THE MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. In past years, when there were only 16 seeds here, you'd always get that great first round match. There was always one match where people could see high quality players. With 32 seeds, that reduces that possibility. What do you feel about that?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Obviously, we had it the first time at Wimbledon. You could see there that there was really no high drama except maybe Martina losing kind of a weird match. There were none of those first round matchups. Last year I played Clijsters in the first round. She was like 17. The first time when they proposed that, I thought, "That's really trying to protect the top players," basically assuring there wouldn't be an upset. But the lower ranked players liked that as well. They felt like they were protected. You know, I think it kind of maybe delayed some of the really intriguing matchups until the first weekend almost.

Q. Can you see it from the fans' point of view?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: That they like it or dislike it?

Q. You love to come out here the first two days and see at least something like a blockbuster match.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I see it both ways. I think that they like it. There's less of a chance that an Agassi or somebody like that will go down early. But, you know, as far as really gripping and dramatic matches, it's probably going to happen between two unseeded players most likely, especially in the women's game more so than the men's.

Q. What condition is your wrist in now? I know you took a week off to rest it. Can you reflect back on some of the heat you got for pulling out of Toronto.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, it's an injury I've had my whole career. And obviously, playing Stanford, San Diego and LA, overuse is basically what causes tendinitis, something that flared up when I was playing Dementieva in LA. That was on Friday. And my wrist was bad. I mean, I saw a doctor, I did an MRI, I did all that. I continued to play the tournament in LA and was given medication and made it through the weekend. But certainly playing one more week without resting it was not going to help my case for my future. So, you know, obviously I had to make the decision to pull out. I wanted to do it before the draw was made, and maybe it looked bad because I was still in the tournament. But looking back, I wouldn't do it differently. It felt a lot better in New Haven. It was a little sore today. I played the last few days on it. I'll take it easy tomorrow and hope to rest it for Wednesday.

Q. Are you satisfied with the way you played today?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, happy to get through. I thought I served very well. And I think, you know, most players will say it, but the conditions out there are a lot harder than they see. There's a really hard wind going one way. Sometimes it's tough to be really against the wind and then really with the wind. But I thought I handled it pretty well. Happy to get through like I did, and nothing that I'm upset about, and just look forward to keep moving on now.

Q. Couple players that go down already today with some heat problems. Did you experience any heat discomfort?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No, I think right about the time I went out there, the cloud cover came over. It seemed like the last few games it was going to rain soon. But when I was warming up at, you know, 11, around 11, it was bad. So, you know, playing three out of five sets is brutal in these conditions.

Q. How do you feel about the way that the players are marketed with the WTA? In the Time Magazine article you didn't seem too pleased.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: That interview was done like six months ago. It's kind of a delayed thing. I think we're taking better steps. From what I've talked about the last few days with some of the people at the players' meeting, everyone is looking forward to the new CEO, whoever that is going to be, and really trying to be more aggressive with the marketing and really trying to help get everybody's name, even the players people don't know about, out there a little bit more and try and get everybody a little bit more excited about women's tennis. So I think things have actually changed since the time I did that article and people are trying harder. Everyone's kind of looking hopefully now to the future, getting another new start to our sport. Hopefully things are moving in the right direction and hopefully they will continue to move that way.

Q. What are some of the concerns?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I missed the players' meeting, but from what I've been relayed from those meetings, I think the players want, you know -- I think the players just feel that the sport is just doing so well and women's tennis, you know, from our standpoint seems like the most popular women's sport worldwide. Seems like if you look at, you know, the most popular female athletes, the majority of them are tennis players. Certainly are there other athletes that are out there. Maybe there could be some more things done to help the sport and to help the players. And, you know, I think everyone's looking toward the new CEO with high hopes that he can do something like that for us.

Q. Obviously, understand a lot of people are going to see this. It's going to create kind of a buzz. What do you think? Do you think the gist of this, is it just about tennis, or does the fans' perception of what does so-and-so think about so-and-so, whether it's genuine or not, does that create a good thing for tennis?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I haven't read the whole article. I was read the parts of my quotes that were relayed back earlier. I think the buzz about women's tennis is about a lot of things. It's about the sport being better than it has ever been. It's about personalties out there that are possibly more intriguing than those that have ever been out there playing. It's about having five or six people instead of one or two that are so popular and so famous they do things besides tennis. And, you know, everyone's intrigued with who's dating who, who talks to who, who won where, who's playing well, where and well. I think there's a lot of story lines right now that are helping the women's tennis more than the sport itself.

Q. Is there anything bad? I mean in a way it's kind of a glimpse into the soul of very competitive, high visibility sports. Not everybody's going to like everybody. You're multicultured, from all over the world, everything else. Is there anything that gets bad or twisted about some of that when you have all these discussions?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I think in any case, no one's ever -- not everyone's ever going to get along. I mean but the fact of the matter is we're not on the same team. We're not a team trying to play together and have fighting, you know, that could cause friction. I mean, everyone's out there for themselves and everyone comes from different countries, speaks different languages, grew up differently, started playing tennis differently. No, you can't expect however many people are playing, 200, 300 people, to get along. I think the thing that gets misinterpreted is that I mean there's no cat fights. People aren't yelling, arguing. I think everyone, for the most part, especially the top players, go about their business and get out of here. You know, they're not -- certainly not talking about each other in the locker room or yelling at each other or anything like that. I think everyone's professional enough that they do their job and they leave and there's none -- there's no, you know, words or anything going on.

Q. The best players right now on the women's tour, the common denominator is they're powerful, they're physical: you, Venus Williams, Serena Williams. Is Justine Henin a nominee?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: She's only 5'5". It's funny. You see her and you think, "This girl would get overpowered or should get overpowered." She hits the ball hard. She handles pace extremely well with a one-handed backhand. She serves well. I don't know where she gets all the power from. It doesn't look like she is that strong. I've seen her step into balls with a one-handed backhand and rip them back, and she doesn't seem to get overpowered. I haven't watched her all that recently. But I didn't see the Wimbledon match, for instance. But last week I saw her play Venus and it was pretty close. I mean, she wasn't totally getting overpowered out there. She was holding her own. So, you know, I think it is a little different. You think of hard hitters as big and tall and strong, but she certainly doesn't fit that description.

Q. What about that backhand?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It's so sweet. I mean, it's -- her and Mauresmo definitely have the best one-handed backhands out there. Maybe Henin's is a little better. I don't know. But it sure looks good.

Q. What about Kim Clijsters? I know she had to withdraw last week. You had a chance to play her. How much better has she gotten?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think she's gotten better. I think she's more consistent. I think she obviously moves very well. And to me, it seemed like her forehand got a lot better this summer. I think that was the side that maybe would get more errors on. When I played her about a month ago, her forehand was a lot better. She's always had a really great backhand, and didn't see her play the last few weeks. It seemed after Stanford she had a little bit of problems, lost early a few weeks. I don't know if she was inconsistent or injured. I don't really know. I didn't see her play. But she's, you know, only 18 as well. Good future, as well as Henin.

Q. In that Time Magazine article, Martina Navratilova said about last year's final that if Mr. Williams had done a victory dance, and she had been there, he would have been reprimanded.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Reprimanded? I know what that means, but...

Q. People have been afraid to criticize them because they don't want to be called racist.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Oh, I can't imagine if my dad got out there and danced what you guys would write. But, you know, people have always, you know, not criticized Richard Williams that much. I don't know what their reasons are. I'm not in the media. So, you know, it seems like he probably gets away with more than others. But, you know, why you guys don't do it, I can't tell you why. But, yeah, I was -- you know, that happened to me. Martina told me she would have gone up and punched him - Navratilova. I said, "I wish you had been out there instead of me."

Q. Do you think it has to do with race?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't know. It's you guys that don't criticize them. You tell me. Why don't you criticize him?

Q. Do you think the players would be more outspoken about the Williamses if the Williamses were not African Americans?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No. I think the players still are outspoken about them. We still say what we feel and, you know, it's the same way about Kournikova. I mean, you guys say, "What about this," always trying to get us to say something. No one does it to her either, for the most part. But, no, I mean they're great girls. I mean, they're great athletes. They've changed totally in the five or six years they've played on the Tour. I have no problems with them. I think that they're -- they've done amazing things for our sport. A lot of times the fights aren't with them. The fights are, a lot of times, what other people say about them.

Q. Martina Hingis said the Williamses get more sponsorship because of that. It's not the media that doesn't take them to task. They actually get more sponsors because of their race. What do you think of that?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't think so. I mean, I think that, you know, right now, I mean we have a lot of athletes in this country that are getting great deals. From Marion Jones to Anna Kournikova. I think everyone's over the race thing in the corporate world. At one point I think the corporate world were afraid of gay and lesbian players and afraid of black players. I don't know. But it seems to me everyone's playing a lot more equally now than 10, 15 years ago.

Q. Martina said that stuff.


Q. In the Time Magazine, she made reference.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't know. Did you ask her? (Laughing.) Did you ask her?

Q. I tried.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I haven't spoken to Martina in months, I saw her briefly in San Diego. That was it.

Q. A couple days ago a very, very dear friend of yours (Corina) flew up here from Boca Raton, stayed a few days here.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: She's still here.

Q. Can you relay some of the warm feelings you had seeing her in public for the first time since she went into the hospital?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I mean, it's obvious, it was great to see her be able to travel and come up here and be a part of The Open and, you know, she was out there watching my match, which was a great sight to see, considering a few months ago nobody knew exactly what lay ahead for her in the future. You know, she still has a tough road. She still has a couple more rounds of chemotherapy to do. But the fact that she, you know, again was brave enough to come up here and face the media, face television interviews and see everybody was great. I think she inspired a lot of people by being here. She, from what I heard, attended the player meeting and every player was really happy to see her. And certainly her friends that are closest to her, you know, we've tracked her progress for the last few months. But just knowing that she was able to come up here, she has a lot of energy. She's doing great. And, you know, it's obviously much more exciting than a few months ago.

Q. What makes her a special person for you?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, she's always been such a nice girl and easy-going and a player that didn't take the tennis too seriously and never took, you know, took it with a grain of salt, a win or a loss. She's got a big heart. And when this happened to her, I mean, we were talking about it yesterday, that, you know, in the four or five months she's been sick she's had maybe one day where she felt sorry for herself and felt like, "This is so tough to go through." That's it. That's what makes her so strong and just kind of dealt with what she was given and is fighting it really, really strongly.

End of FastScripts….

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