September 3, 1998
U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Flushing Meadows, New York
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Going into the match I took it very seriously because obviously Lori can be a very big threat serve and volleying and coming in, especially when the court is playing a little bit faster. I was able to get a good lead in both sets and really put her away both sets.
Q. 1-1 in the first set you played a game that lasted about three weeks: At that point did you figure this is really going to be tough?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I thought going in the whole match it was going to be tough. I was so relieved after I broke that game more than anything else. But yeah, I was worried coming in because she attacks a lot and I am normally the one that likes to be the aggressor, but I was expecting a tough match. I am very happy with the way things turned out and the way I played.
Q. When you came into that match you say you were worried about it. Is that why you looked a little -- you looked peturbed and (Inaudible.) -- with yourself first two games, I think --
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Pretty much every match you kind of worry about a little bit. But some players are more dangerous than others and I consider her a dangerous player. What I wanted to do was get off to a good lead in the beginning to try and maybe, you know, calm -- not calm her down, but not let her get on a roll. So I kind of maybe put a little bit too much pressure on myself in the beginning. I didn't think I served very good at all, I hardly made any first serves. That was making life more difficult on myself. But once I got a few breaks, the first break, then I think I settled down quite a bit.
Q. You seem to be returning the ball well. Were you anticipating where the serves were or --
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I was trying. I kind of was able to maybe read her toss a little bit and guess a little bit and be right today and you have got to return well, especially when someone in the beginning is trying to serve and volley. I was able to, you know, do that in the beginning and rip a few winners early on and maybe she got a little bit hesitant.
Q. Are you feeling the pressure more this year than other years because everyone is pointing to you that this --
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Not really. I mean, I think that for myself mentally I am in the best shape that I have been coming into a Grand Slam and I have had a great summer. But there is still five or six other girls that also have a legitimate shot of winning this. The pressure I don't think is -- for some reason I don't feel it as much here this year as let's say last year or the year before because people are also expecting Venus to win or they are expecting Steffi to come back and win or Monica to win. So it is not like everyone is writing, "Oh, Lindsay is going to win."
Q. What is your confidence level?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I am feeling very good. I mean, two matches now, two easy matches been able to play well. Got a big mixed-doubles win last night, just kidding. I am feeling good. I had a great summer. With one loss to Graf who was playing very well. To keep it going, but I feel like I can go all the way. If I continue at this level.
Q. This point in women's competition there has been, if I have got it right, only one women's seed has departed, she left on her own volition, retired. What do you suppose is making this tournament so formful?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It has been weird because in other tournaments a lot of upsets and a lot of close matches. Could be the way the draw worked out or -- I don't know, I mean, but when you look at that, and you look at the draw, let's say at Wimbledon, or you look at the draw at the French, when there was so many upsets, you can't control things like that and I don't know what the reason is, but I think there is some tough third-round matches. Testud/Novotna comes to mind, a very tough match. Serena/Spirlea, very tough match. I think almost that the floaters are almost placed away from the seeds a little bit, I think.
Q. Might the speed of the court be influencing this?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, it is tough to say because, you know, some seeds aren't so great on faster courts and they are still there. But it is definitely -- it is going to favor my game. It is going to favor Venus's game. It is going to favor Graf's game. But it is surprising to come out there and to see how quick they are playing. The court I played on today was very fast, faster, I thought, than No. 1. So hopefully that is an advantage.
Q. Andre Agassi just had a press conference which actually lasted about three weeks also. And he talked mostly about the Davis Cup. Lindsay, you obviously didn't play Fed Cup last time. But unless I am mistaken you had played a lot of Fed Cup and the women in general have been extremely supportive. Of course the top four men are not going to be playing Davis Cup. My question is: Why do you think there is such a difference in level of support for the National Team of the top men versus the top women and does it bother you?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Andre Agassi has been extremely supportive of Davis Cup over the last couple of years, and Pete Sampras has not been. I think that has gotten a lot of publicity just because Pete Sampras has kind of taken a stand where he doesn't want to play at all. On the other side, the top women, Monica, myself, have said we will try and play every time we can to the best of our ability. I think a little bit maybe has to do with money, I mean, these guys make a lot more money than we do, and we are not doing it for the money, but I think maybe they want more money to play sometimes. I think that they, you know, have -- I don't know if they have necessarily longer schedules, but they always seem to complain that they don't have any weeks off and that is the weeks they want off. But I think really for most of the girls, they really think it is great to spend another week with four or -- four other girls and practice with Billie Jean and maybe some of the guys don't look at it that way.
Q. How much of a factor is the captain?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I think it is a big factor, but I think the guys really like Gully, so I don't think for, like, Pete's decision it has anything to do with the captain. But for me, it makes a big difference. I mean, if Billie is there you know you want to play. If someone else was there, maybe you wouldn't want to play.
Q. I don't imagine you are pals with Michael Chang, but if you were to sit down with him, and talk about this, what would you say to him since he played so rarely in recent years?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't think it is necessarily a criticism for someone not to play. Some people take it more seriously than others. Some people have different beliefs about Fed Cup and Davis Cup. So I wouldn't say anything to him. Personally, you have got to respect his decision. He stood by it, and that is that. I don't think it is necessarily bad.
Q. Finally, Andre's prime complaint now is that there was no input from the players, in terms of site selection before Milwaukee was chosen. Have you ever been asked by USTA Fed Cup captain about site selection? Is there much input from the women?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I feel like we have -- we have a say, I mean, I don't know if it is just worked out that way every time, but for the first tie of the year, last year they said where do you want to play. We all said, well, because it is the week after Amelia Island, we'd like to play on clay and on the East Coast. They made it three hours from Amelia Island. So we can all drive there and we all played. Every time I have ever played an at-home match they have always asked all the players what surface we wanted it to be on and it has been on that surface. This is a little bit of an extreme case maybe with Davis Cup. I know the guys want it on the west coast, but if you have looked how many times it has been on the west coast in the last two or three years, would -- maybe some political -- why are you shaking your head.
Q. When you look at it, it has not been on the west coast that much.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Las Vegas, La Costa, Newport Beach that is all in two years. I think the USTA is trying to spread it, you know, around more globally. I am not saying it is the right decision. I am just saying they are also trying to -- they are going to maybe not have a team now of the best players, so I don't know.
Q. You seem to be a favorite in this tournament, I guess, coming off the Olympics in 1996. I am wondering how are you different, maybe confidence-wise, because you have -- maybe had a comparative summer in terms of being on a roll coming into this tournament and how are you different now?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I mean, I think after I won the Olympics and I came into the US Open I was -- Olympics was a big shock for me to win. I didn't think I was going to win it -- necessarily a big tournament. I played summer; won another tournament; came in here undefeated and at that time I was playing well and I felt good. But I had played a bad match and I was out. I think over the last two years I have really learned how to win on days when you are not playing so well. I have learned mentally how to be a little bit stronger. And really just the experience of the last two years of winning a lot of tournaments over the last two years, being ranked high and being able to stay there and trying to enjoy it more, has all kind of made a difference to where, you know, internally I don't feel so much pressure and I am a lot more relaxed about everything.
Q. When you first, you know, was it last year, year before when everyone thought it was opened up for you at Wimbledon. Your tournament to win. I think you came here and you said you maybe took it for granted there --
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Really?
Q. Well, I don't know. I am thinking I heard you say that.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You get good draws and you get bad draws at Grand Slams. Hopefully you can always take advantage of the good draws. But at the same time, sometimes good draws are even tougher to play because you know this is your shot and whatever. That is one thing I have learned. I might have said that I am not sure. I think the one thing I have learned now you just have to look at it there is no good draws, you have to beat everybody to keep going in a tournament. And you just have to do your best. If your best is only the round of 16 at a Grand Slam and you gave it your all, then that is great. If your best is the finals, that is great. To win, that is obviously what everybody wants, but it is impossible for it to happen to everyone.
Q. When you first get to that point where everybody expects you to win; that you expect yourself to win, is that hard maybe to keep it in perspective that you still have to go play the match?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: First, all rounds of a Grand Slam are very tough. You are expected to get through when you are favorite to win, that is probably when you feel most pressure you might pull through or whatever. But it starts to obviously get more exciting when you play the better players and the seeded players and that is what you play for. Really you play to get through the first week; then start to play better come this weekend, through next weekend.
Q. I mean, the competition of course is going to be better when you get to the last couple of rounds. But what makes -- why are there so few women who are able to make that next --
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Physically and mentally it is tough. 14 days of a tournament, playing, playing a day off, following men's three out of five matches, I mean, they are all excuses, but it is all tough. It is not necessarily what we are used to. It takes a lot of mental energy. If you look at any No. 1 player or any player that, you know, done to -- have won a lot of grand slams, they are so tough and focused always and that is what you kind of have to be to able to still be in the final Thursday, final Friday, still have that killer instinct; still want it still be hungry.
Q. On the Fed Cup you have Billie Jean King, have you talked to her, anyone that you have talked to about that situation, maintaining that direction?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Not really. I think it is within yourself. If you wake up on Tuesday, you don't want to play, you are probably going to lose. You just have to kind of learn to deal with it yourself. Advice from everybody is great, but essentially it comes down to the player and how they are going to perform and how badly they want it. If my mom is dying for me to win a Grand Slam, you know, that is not going to help me. If someone tells me, oh, you should eat this, it will help you, you just have to do what comes naturally to yourself.
Q. Are you dying to win a Grand Slam?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I would love to win a Grand Slam, but I have always said if my career was to end, I am not going to go jump off a bridge because of it. I have been doing a lot better. I am going to try my hardest and hopefully one day it will happen.
Q. I have got a very serious question to ask you. So Venus is playing in seven different outfits. What would it take to get Lindsay to wear seven different outfits?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I was supposed to wear some new colors here, but my size, they didn't come in, Nike didn't give me the extra larges. They only gave me large, so I would have had some new outfits here. I think that is great. I think that is funny, but for me, I'd rather just wear something that I have always worn and comfortable in. I mean, it is not a superstition, but I mean, I just -- I like the clothes that I wear. I think they are very comfortable; just going to wear the same thing every match in different colors.
End of FastScripts....