July 5, 2001
THE MODERATOR: First question, please.
Q. Could have gone either way, couldn't it have?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Seems like it. I had the one set point and a couple break points in the second set. And, you know, who knows what would have happened if...(Inaudible)... if I was able to pull it into a third set. I felt like I had not a ton of chances, but those few I had, just didn't take advantage of it. Seems like... (No sound.) Okay. All right.
Q. She's played about as well as she's ever played against you today.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I wouldn't say that. I think she's played better against me before. I feel like I've played better against her before. But each match is a different match, and those just couple points is the difference. She has been winning them the last few times we played, and that's what's making her a great player right now.
Q. It seems like one of the things, the problems with playing her the last couple of times, is it seems to be a situation where whoever can step in and start dictating the rally early is who's going to win the point. It seems like she's been able to do that the last couple of times with you. Do you find the pressure of hanging in against her has gotten to you the last couple of times you've played?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It's certainly tough to step in the ball. (Inaudible.) So I've -- I think just for the most part I just don't handle her pace as well as I need to and haven't been maybe as well as I used to. She's definitely more consistent than she used to be. So, I mean, for myself, I think like I had my chances today, didn't take advantage of them. But, again, I still need to do better about dictating the points more and really trying to be more offensive than maybe I have been.
Q. Did you notice, it seemed like her back started to bother her in the second set.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, it was funny. A couple times she'd hit a first serve at 92, and I'd think, "Maybe her back is hurting her." And I swear, the next one would come at 114. (Laughing.) So I had no rhyme or reason about what was going on out there. It's hard to think about. But, you know, she was still moving okay. She was still, like, reaching for balls and kind of in weird positions, and it still seemed like it was okay. So I don't really know what the problem was. I don't know if it was fatigue or what was going on. But, you know, a couple times, like I said, the serve was still coming hard occasionally, and then she was still moving okay. So I don't know. It was -- it was just kind of like a weird match I think.
Q. Was it tough for you not playing for two days, then trying to get back in the flow of things?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, that was weird. Ideally, it's not the best situation for myself. And the opposite, she played two matches yesterday which probably tired her out. And I hadn't played at all so I felt, you know, two days isn't that long. But when you're in the flow of a tournament, it certainly helps to keep it going. I feel like I played really well, especially Wednesday night. And probably win or lose, it would have helped me a lot more playing yesterday.
Q. Could you feel a difference? Were you a little rusty? It was a close match. It went to a tiebreaker in the first set.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, it was a close match, and I still felt just a little bit off. I don't know if that's from not playing or obviously due to her pace and she was serving well. But just still felt like I could have played better and I think she could have also. But probably would have helped me if I had played a little bit, maybe put a little bit more pressure returning and made a few more returns in.
Q. Is that what makes her so different? You talk about the pace. You said you had a hard time getting aggressive against her. Is that what she does best - keep the opposing player from getting aggressive?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think she's got a great serve. So it's hard to really get on the offensive from the beginning. I think just the pace, and she's a great athlete. She can run down balls and go on the offensive sometimes. You think you have her on the defensive and she comes up with a great shot. She's a great athlete and hits the ball very hard. So tough to put balls away and tough to step into balls.
Q. Is she much tougher now than she was two years ago?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I would think so just by her results. She definitely has become a better player; there's no doubt.
Q. Is it as much her toughness or just the strokes?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think she's a better player. I mean, it may be that mentally she wasn't strong a few years ago. I don't know. She could tell you. But playing-wise, she's a better player. So I don't know quite the reason.
Q. Do you notice a mental toughness in her on the court now that maybe she didn't have a couple years ago?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, that's all in the own person playing. You know, I can't tell that, you know, if she hits shots in now, I don't know if that's because her strokes are better or because mentally she feels like she's a better play. I'm sure she's gained a ton of confidence with her success last year, and that definitely helps you on the bigger points. She seems to play them better than she did two or three years ago; that's for sure.
Q. How much of the double-faults today was trying to put extra on the second serve?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Oh, for sure, yeah. You can't just get them in against her. Going out there, I knew I would be hitting some double-faults, but you've got to go for it. There's no sense in just getting it in. It kind of defeats the purpose.
Q. There was a game at the end of the second set where she broke you to go ahead 5-4. The second to last point of that game there was a backhand she hit for a winner. You didn't move for the shot. Did she catch you the wrong way?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't know. (Laughing.) I guess she wrong-footed me. I mean, physically I feel fine. So I don't know, maybe I just got a bad read. I'm not quite sure about the point.
Q. Were you particularly surprised by that last shot, that lunging volley she hit?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: She's got great reach. And especially the point she got to break me, she made a great reaching volley. So she's got a great wing span and she definitely uses it to her advantage.
Q. So you actually wish you had had an opportunity to play yesterday? You think that would have helped?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I came here to play matches to get better for the US Open and certainly wanted to play yesterday, win or lose, and was disappointed in the scenario that unfolded. Obviously, understood it - I've been in that position - but really wanted to play yesterday.
Q. Yesterday Venus talked about how she plays up to the competition and rises to the occasion. Do you think she played differently? Did you notice a difference in her game today as opposed to yesterday?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I didn't see her play much yesterday. I saw her a little bit in the first set. I didn't know I was getting the default until almost the end of the second when I was getting ready to go out there. Then when I heard, I went out and hit some. But I think that's true - I think if you watch her play in the first few rounds compared to the last few rounds of a tournament, I think she definitely plays better at the end of the week. I don't know if that's more tennis or she just feels more comfortable on the court, whatever. I think that's true of a lot of players, but I find it -- I think it's true with her for sure.
Q. How do you feel about the Open now? You said it was pretty much wide open. Any change of observation?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I mean, I feel great. I think beginning of the week I played well here, and start on Monday. So I'll get right into playing in New York, and I'm excited to get there and start that tournament. And, you know, I would think that Venus is the favorite. She won it last year and she's played well this summer. But there's a lot of players that can sneak through, possibly cause some up -- not sneak through, but Capriati, Hingis, Monica, Serena, myself. I mean, there's players in there definitely with a fighting chance.
Q. Is it as wide open as it's ever been?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, I like to think that each year it seems like there's one or two players added to the fold that could win a Grand Slam. Jennifer this year; Monica played well this summer. So there's a few more, I think, contenders that I would pick the winner from. And it seems like that's the case with women's tennis. We have a lot of players that can play at a very high level, which is very exciting.
Q. When you have to negotiate the draw, then it's not as exciting.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, it's tough. Tough to win Grand Slams these days - no doubt. A lot of great players you have to beat to do it.
Q. I noticed during the ceremony, you were fascinated with one of her rings.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Okay.
Q. She took it off and gave it to you. At the time you were going to put it on, she took it back. I was watching through my binoculars.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah.
Q. I'm just wondering what it was about the ring?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: We were talking about a lot of things. We were talking about each other's clothes and I just said, "Gosh, that's a big ring." She said, "Yeah. Feel it. It's heavy." Felt it, gave it back to her. (Laughter.)
Q. Could you talk about the atmosphere out there on the court today with all the people, and kind of compare it to what it was like two years ago when you were here.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, I noticed a huge difference Tuesday night when I went out to play. A lot of times in early matches and early rounds, there aren't quite as many people in the stands. And it was really full then, I thought. I first came here for an exhibition I don't know how many years ago, when it was the SNET Classic or something, and we got good crowds then. And for the first year of the tournament, not great crowds. And it's just grown steadily since then. This year's been amazing. I heard last night was just awesome with the crowd and the atmosphere. And it's so great. I mean, it's great to put it in a city that really is so excited about us being here and does everything it can to support us. And it definitely makes the players want to come back here.
Q. What made you decide to come out yesterday to make the announcement as far as the withdrawal?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, they asked me to come out there. You know, we weren't actually -- I wasn't told and I know the tournament wasn't told until they actually split sets. I was just about to go on when Venus served for the match. I think everyone was a little taken aback and a little surprised. They said, "Will you go out there and talk to the crowd and sign a few autographs? Hopefully everything will be okay." I think it was probably hard for Kim, the first time she's pulled out. I think she handled it great and the crowd was very supportive to her when she talked to them. And I was just there because they thought it might do some good. So I agreed to go out there.
Q. The crowd did have a good reaction as far as you being part of that.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, it's hard. It's hard to pull out at any time, and especially scary to go out there and address the crowd at the same time. I mean, you never know. Hopefully they don't boo you. And, you know, obviously she's a little scared because they were expecting a match. I thought she handled it well. I was happy the crowd took it in good strides and, you know, that definitely makes it easier for her.
Q. Talk about this era. Women's tennis seems to have more people who are part of a mix of the mythical best player. Talk about, I mean, being part of that group and how much it fuels you and, you know, how much fun it is to be part of the group of the best players in the world.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, it's definitely, you know, it seems like every year I said that, it keeps getting more and more exciting. It's definitely a privilege to be part of hopefully a turning point in women's tennis. Obviously, we have great players right now. We're getting more exposure now. And it's exciting to be a part of it. It's exciting to face different players every week. It's not the same one or two. And the crowd has so many players that they can choose from to follow and really get behind. And, hopefully, the group that there is right now can really make even more differences and help, you know, the next generation that comes along and help, you know, keep getting more and more exposure for us.
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