August 27, 1996
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK
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?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: My God.
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?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No, not once.
Q. Bring a racquet, use that. Are you nervous about showing the Mets pitcher up?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, right.
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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.
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