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August 27, 1996

Lindsay Davenport


Q. Does it matter what kind of pitch you're going to throw out tonight?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: So nervous. I've gotten two suggestions, go for it, throw it your hardest, or just try to make it to the catcher. We'll see what I decide.

Q. Can't bounce it. That's bad for your image.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I know. I'm so nervous about this actually. How many feet is it?

Q. 60.


Q. Why don't you just toss it?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I'm going to go for it. We'll see.

Q. Have you been praying?


Q. Bring a racquet, use that. Are you nervous about showing the Mets pitcher up?


Q. What about the overhead you missed today?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I knew someone would bring that up. I think I tried to hit it too hard. I was kind of cruising in the match, 5-1, serving. I was just trying to hit it way too hard. It got me a little ticked for the rest of that game. I don't know. I thought I did a lot of stuff well. That was pretty much the only thing that really stands out, so that's okay.

Q. How was your attitude going in? How did you feel today about the tournament?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I feel good today. A lot of times these kind of matches used to give me a lot of trouble. The first couple rounds are very tough for me. I was really happy. I tried to play aggressive today, you know, moving in on my shots, just really going for it. I was able to do that. Sometimes in these matches you get a little tentative, just kind of go through.

Q. Were you like really confident, relaxed before?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I mean, when I was walking out there, I got this knot in the bottom of my stomach. Whenever you're going out to a big court in a Grand Slam, especially the US Open, you better be nervous.

Q. Having won the gold medal in Atlanta, do you think you're being received differently now here? Do you think people are looking at you differently?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think so. I've gotten a lot more support from a lot of the fans saying, "Great job, we're so proud of you." That really mean as lot. I know a lot of other people have higher expectations for me now than they would have before. That's great. I'm just going -- I believe that I can do well here. I just hope to play well for the next two weeks.

Q. Do you feel the pressure of those expectations now? Is there suddenly a new burden dropped on your back?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I actually really haven't felt the pressure. I felt a lot of pressure when I played here two years ago. I was the highest seeded American. For some reason I felt a lot more pressure then. I've had a great summer. I've stayed really relaxed the whole summer. Not yet, I haven't really felt any pressure.

Q. Are the expectations greater because of the Olympics or what you did afterwards?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, probably both. I think a lot of people when I won the Olympics was like, "That's great, that's it. That could have been a fluke." I tried really hard in LA to keep playing well to show everyone that I could keep it going; it wasn't just a one-tournament deal. To follow it up by playing great again and winning the tournament after that, it was special to me.

Q. A couple years ago, I think at Wimbledon, you were talking about the burden of being the top ranked American. That is different now because Seles has become an American? Is it different because you're more relaxed with yourself?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think it's probably all of those reasons. I am more relaxed with myself, more confident in myself. I believe I'm in a position that I've deserved and played very well to get to the ranking. Also because the other Americans are playing well. Monica is now an American, so she kind of took that burden of being the top ranked American. Chanda played excellent at the beginning of the year. Mary Joe is playing well again. People focus on different players at different times of the year. Like I said, I think it's both of those things.

Q. Has your court mobility improved quite a bit?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think so. It's better in some matches than others. Overall I'm moving a lot better than I used to. That's one of the main things that's improved. When I'm not hitting my shots that well, I can still run a few more balls down. It allows me to get in a better position for the ball so I'm not making as many errors because I'm out of position. That's the one thing that's really given me a lot of confidence this year.

Q. The physical conditioning occurred since you went with Robert?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think we started focusing a lot more on that in the beginning of December of last year, really making that a big thing, part of my training. Yeah, I guess it's because -- more with him, definitely.

Q. When you beat Steffi in Los Angeles, is that a case of many things went your way or was it a case of you could play with her and beat her?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Right. You know, when I went into that match, I knew that I had a chance to do well. I had a great match with her at Indian Wells and almost won that much, a very long match. My other matches were relatively close with her. I had never gotten blown off the court in that sense - not to say she couldn't do that. I played extremely well that day. I think she was a little bit off. I was able to take control. I think because I had a lot of confidence from the Olympics, I was able to close it out.

Q. Lindsay, what was it a couple years ago that made it so tough? Was it the burden of the expectations? You weren't ready for it? You were too young?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't think I really was ready for it. I was still in school and I was just playing tennis because I was doing well at it, but I wasn't taking it as serious as my competitors were. I was doing well. I got a lot of pressure to do well. I don't think at that time I really wanted to do better. I was still going to high school. I was still just pretty new on the Tour, just playing to play. Everyone is like, "You should be in better shape, winning these matches." I just didn't listen to it. I was like, "I'm fine." I think this year I've taken it a lot more seriously, worked very hard to play well.

Q. Did the competitiveness kind of surprise you at all?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No. I mean, I'm extremely competitive. I knew everyone else was competitive. I was just very different about my tennis philosophy than a lot of other girls.

Q. Have you become measurably a better athlete in the last year or 18 months?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I would like to think so. You know, I'm moving better. I don't know. I mean, I've lost weight.

Q. Are you stronger? Faster?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think I'm stronger. I'm definitely fitter in that sense, I guess. I still can't jump very high, make baskets all over the court. I think I'm in better overall shape.

Q. Which would you consider the greater achievement, winning the Olympic Gold or winning a Grand Slam?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I'd like to answer that after I've won a Grand Slam. You know, winning the Olympics I think will always be one of the greatest moments of my life just because I wasn't expected to do it. I did it in front of my home fans and my family. It was such a shock to me when I won it, in the hours and days that went by. Now always I'll probably be written in as a dark horse, maybe should win a Grand Slam. There, I just came out of really nowhere to win it. I'm sure there will always be the high point.

Q. What causes more anxiety, coming out here for your first match or doing what you have to do tonight?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, essentially there is really no pressure tonight because if I bottom, then I can just make a joke about it.

Q. Have you ever thrown a baseball?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yes, I've thrown a baseball, but not 60 feet with people watching, that kind of pressure. You know, it's more like serious pressure; obviously, today. Like I said, I just hope I don't make a fool of myself.

Q. How did you come about? Did they contact you?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. I mean, I am a baseball fan. They contacted the WTA about it. I'm very honored. I don't think many players have done it for the Mets. It's a great honor for me.

Q. Are you an Angels or Dodgers fan?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I shouldn't say this but I'm a huge Brave's fan. Because they won the World Series? No, I've liked them for a long time. I go to Angels' games because they're closer, but I'm a big Dodgers' fan.

Q. Any thoughts on Capriati coming back to this tournament? Did you talk to her much?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't know her that well. When I came up, she had pretty much already quit. I think it's great. The more Americans we have playing and doing well is only going to help our sport. She's so well-known. Everybody loves her and likes her. The better she would be, the better story it would be. I know she's had injury problems the last couple of weeks, so I hope she's feeling good for these two weeks.

Q. You broke out of the Tour later than someone like Jennifer, yet you were saying it was pretty overwhelming when you first came in. Can you imagine what it would have been; not necessarily Jennifer, but anyone coming on at that age?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I really can't. I thought I dealt with it pretty well in the sense that I've always kind of hung in there with it. It's tough when you're younger. For myself, like my family didn't go with me, so I had to do a lot on my own, learn a lot on how to handle it. I was able to get through it, being very independent. I really admire someone like Martina Hingis or Steffi Graf or Gaby who have done it since they're 14. I think that really is amazing.

Q. Do you feel like there's a breakthrough victory in your future? Do you wonder when that might come?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I thought my breakthrough really was winning the gold. I think forever and always I'll have that. I think that's pushed me on to like winning LA. I think it gave me a lot of confidence. Breakthroughs as far as Grand Slams, I'm still in need of one in a Grand Slam. I've lost in the quarters many times, but never gone past that. I definitely need one of those wins in a Grand Slam.

Q. Lindsay, are you enjoying this added celebrity, something that happens tonight, magazines and profiles every week?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. Like I said, everything has been really positive and going well now. I know eventually it's going to turn negative sometime. I'm enjoying it while it's happening and while I'm playing well. Like I say, the response I've gotten the last couple weeks have been very nice. I've taken it all to heart. I've loved every minute of it. You get prepared for the other side of it, too.

Q. While everybody sort of is writing that you're a different player, do you see yourself now as a different player, better player?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, definitely. I have a lot more to fall back on now if I'm not playing very well. I have a lot more confidence in myself as a player, on certain shots that I used to be confident to hit, now I'm a little more confident.

Q. What do you fall back on now?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: What do I fall back on? I knew that was coming (laughter). Like I said, if I'm not hitting my shots that well, I can run a few more shots down in a match. I have a lot more confidence coming into the net, hitting second serves and coming in, trying to put the point away that way, just getting the ball with more topspin, getting them into the right shot combs. I think I can do that.

Q. After you beat Steffi at the Acura, you said she was probably the greatest player ever. Would you put her above Martina and Chris?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: In overall terms, she has been the most solid. Yes, I guess I would. I think she's just done remarkably for so long, has won is it 19 or 20?

Q. 20.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: 20 Grand Slam titles, four of each. I don't think anyone's ever done that. You know, she just handles everything so well, is always there, always is fired up for the Grand Slams. Yeah, she's definitely the greatest player, I think.

Q. Lindsay, do you have any family members here watching you?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No. My sister and her husband are coming Thursday morning.

Q. No parents?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No. My mom might come later this week, but my sister for sure is coming, so.

Q. Did you get to enjoy Atlanta as a spectator, not just an athlete?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. The first couple days, you know, the swimming and diving was in Georgia Tech, so we went to those almost every night and water polo. I went to volleyball about four times because my father worked there. I saw the Dream Team play once. I didn't see a ton of sports, but I saw a lot and really had a great time.

Q. What did your father do with volleyball?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: He is in charge of the officials.

Q. Do you and Chanda get to spend much time together anymore? If you meet her on the court, is it different than playing anyone else?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. I think forever that we'll always have a special relationship. We grew up on the Tour together at 13 and traveled and stayed together for two years. We always have something there. We had a great time at the Olympics while she was there. I think we really actually got a lot closer spending about five days there. I know she's going through a really hard time now. All of us, Mary Joe, Monica and myself, are all trying to keep her spirits up and get her back.

Q. Is Mary Joe your best friend on the Tour?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. I mean, I'm closest to her, I'd say.

Q. So were you a little sad when she pulled out of the tournament, just like Chanda?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Oh, of course. I'm more upset for her because she's so down, just like Chanda. I have a little more with Mary Joe because of the doubles. We won the French Open. It's kind of a bummer that we're not going to be playing here.

Q. So have you been talking to Chanda recently and what has she been telling you about the injuries?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I can say that.

Q. Is she really surprised that it's taken so long?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think she's surprised. I think in the beginning she didn't realize how serious it was. I think it's obviously hit her now. I think it's hit her the last month how really serious it is. I think it took her, like I said, all of us, especially her, by such shock.

Q. An off-beat question. What's the funniest thing ever to happen to you on the court?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Funniest thing?

Q. One of the funniest or most bizarre.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't know. I'm so bad at this. Ask me again tomorrow. Let me think about it for a day.

End of FastScripts...

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