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March 14, 1998

Lindsay Davenport


Q. Lindsay, she got up against Venus yesterday 6-Love in the first set, and you 5-Love. I mean, any similarity? What happened? Did she just get going or did the opponent just start slowly?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, normally I'm a very fast starter. I got down 5-Love. I wasn't feeling too good. You know, it was tough with the rain delay. I hit on a wet court for about 20 minutes. She had to do the same thing. She handled it much better. She came out on fire. I started slowly. First of all, that's one thing you can't do against the No. 1 player in the world, especially in a final. It's too big a hole to come back from.

Q. What's the toughest about playing her, Lindsay?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, watching her, it doesn't look like -- she just is so dominant. She really is. She's extremely, extremely fast. I think she's a little under rated in that category. Today, she hit the ball very deep. When you like to step into the ball and go for it, you can't really do that off deep balls. She kept the ball very deep, moved me around a lot. It's just tough to play against.

Q. I hate to drag you into this thing with Venus saying she's going to be the best in the world. Martina yesterday said, "After I retire." You're No. 2. Is she clearly No. 1 in the world?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. I mean, I thought what she said was great. There has to be some -- you know, she's by far No. 1. The Williams, no doubt, have potential to get there. You know, as long as Martina is playing as she is right now, she's going to stay there for a while. It's fun to try to challenge her. That's what myself and the other girls like to do. You know, we've got to do it a little more successfully, though.

Q. How big do you think the gap is between her and yourself?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Today, big. A couple weeks ago, not so big. (laughter). When someone is playing very well, things always seem to go their way. When she loses to someone, she always comes back the next time even a little bit more fired up. I knew that I had beaten her three weeks ago, that she was going to want to play well and win today. Unfortunately, I was a little bit flat and she was really on.

Q. I don't know if you even probably noticed, in that ninth game, you ended up winning that in the second set. You moved her out wide and she switched hands. Do you say, "What else can she do?"

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: She hit some great shots today on the run, left-handed ball. I've seen her try to hit some one-handed backhands in matches. She has fun out there. She goes for her shots when she's on the run. It's kind of fun. You don't see that very often. But she was -- she even made it, which is of course today she would make that.

Q. Charlie Pasarell this morning described her as a tennis genius. Do you think there is such a thing?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. I think she uses her game to the maximum. She knows what the weaknesses are in players. She uses that to the best she can. She's very smart and knows where to put the ball. I definitely agree with that.

Q. Lindsay, after you won the Olympic Gold Medal, Billy Jean King suggested that you had the makings to be No. 1 in the world. I think your response was, "That's very flattering." The way you've played over the last six or eight months, do you really think that is now definitely within your reach?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I think so. But performances like today don't help that matter at all. You know, I have the potential to play the best in the world. I have to get a lot more consistent maybe. It was disappointing today to play like this. I've been working very hard to try to get up. I'm No. 2. Fighting pretty well to try to hang on to matches. I'm going to look to keep going for No. 1 and winning a Grand Slam.

Q. In this tournament, did you kind of point your efforts towards playing Steffi, so that after Steffi you had a letdown?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No. I mean, the match with Steffi, I thought I played very well. It was a pretty intense match. All of a sudden it ended. Today, I was just flat. Maybe it was a little bit of a letdown. I don't know what it was. I clearly didn't play the way I needed to to win. You know, she took advantage of that. I don't know what the reason exactly is.

Q. Lindsay, a paper they handed out on the velocity of serves, doesn't seem as if her serve is that fast. Is it possible to attack it?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, the second serve, yeah. The first serve she places pretty well. Not always is it the speed of 110. If you hit it to the lines with a lot of spin, that's just as effective or even more effective as just hitting it hard. That's what makes her so smart, maybe she knows she can't hit it 115, 110, but she uses the placement and spins very well.

Q. In your mind, do you think she's a better player than she was, say, six months ago? If so, why?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think so. I mean, it seems in the game, everyone keeps improving as time passes on. Her first serve has gotten harder. I mean, like a year ago, I don't think her first serves were going as hard as they are now. I think she's seen more opponents, gotten a little bit smarter how to play, she's trying to hit the ball a little harder.

Q. How do you explain coming up flat for a final?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: If I knew, it wouldn't happen. I mean, it happens. In tennis, it's just the way it is. You can't sub a player out when he or she is having a bad game and put someone else in like the other sports. Tennis, it's all up to you all the time. Who knows. I mean, today I just didn't play great, and she did. That's the way it goes. If you see a lot of other finals, that's what happens.

Q. In your gut, Lindsay, which of the Grand Slam tournaments would you like to win the most?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: U.S. Open. Self-explanatory why.

Q. You called this your favorite tournament. You've talked all week about your family and friends being able to come down and watch. Is that the main reason why?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yes. Also it's so nice out here. It's probably the one city in the United States that's having hot weather or was having hot weather until today. It's great staying here. You can just walk over, there's golf, there's the pool. My whole family's here, which is great. It's just nice to play here. It's just relaxing. It's always convenient when everything is close together.

Q. I guess then, does it make it easier to lose in a final?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I mean, I've always done well here. It was a big win to get here to the finals, to play well this whole week. But it's disappointing to go out today like this. You know, I feel like I keep on improving. Just keep hanging in there. It will turn around again.

Q. You got up today and looked out the window, saw rain, what was your initial thought? "No, we're not going to play"?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I knew we would play. I didn't think it would rain that much. They have the Weather Channel in the hotel. I was watching that for ten minutes. They said it was clear everywhere else. They said it was supposed to stop around 11, 11:30. I knew we'd get to play. As tennis players, especially with Wimbledon, you get used to that. You know it's going to happen. I don't think that was the problem for my not playing that well.

End of FastScripts....

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