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September 9, 1998

Lindsay Davenport

U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP, Flushing Meadows, New York

Q. Congratulations. When the match points come and go, they come and go, what are you feeling at that time?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It's tough, especially in these conditions. You kind of never know what's going to happen. You know, I had a point to go up 5-2, which was like the longest point I think of my career. I ended up losing it. But really, you know, I just really stayed positive. When I got back to deuce, tried to give myself another opportunity to win the match. But it was tough. Against the wind, trying to keep it deep. Then she, all of a sudden, kind of stopped missing for a while. I hung in there. After I think -- you'll probably tell me best -- four or five, I was finally able to close it out.

Q. Here we are again in the semis. You've been here before, and the French Open. I suspect you're thinking, "What do I have to do now to get to the final?" What are you thinking about?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. You know, first I have to figure out who I'm going to play, then take it from there. But so far in this tournament, I've played well. I haven't lost a set. I've been pretty focused out there on what I want to do. But knowing the semifinals are going to be an extremely tough match, my goal is to try to get to the finals and try to win it. I'll try my hardest on Friday to see if that happens.

Q. Are you fresh?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think so. I hope so. Like I said, I haven't spent too much time out on the court, which helped a lot. I've played a lot of matches this summer. I don't think I'm tired yet of playing, too tired to go on.

Q. Are you concerned with having to play a doubles match later on today?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No. I mean, I have to play doubles today. If I win, I play again tomorrow. I also came here to try to win the doubles. The scheduling has worked out this way. Hopefully we can make it fast. Who knows? We'll see what happens.

Q. How is the arm?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It's okay. It was a little tough stopping and starting, stopping and starting again. But I think if anything, it's pretty much made me concentrate on this tournament of just making first serves, not going for it too much. Throwing the ball out in front, stuff that I need to do. It's really kind of helped me concentrate more on other aspects of my game. Hopefully, it will still be okay on Friday.

Q. Did the conditions today make you play tentatively at all?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, it's tough. I mean, I don't know how strong the wind was, but when you're with the wind, you can't hit the ball too far or it flies long. You have to play a little bit careful on one side. On the other side, you have to hit the ball hard, so it hits the service line. Both sides you have to play very differently. I was able to take advantage of some of her shorter balls, try to be aggressive sometimes. You never know what's going to happen out there in the wind. It started to swirl sometimes. I really wanted to make my first serves, keep the balls in.

Q. What about the rain delay, back and forth, back and forth? Can you talk about the atmosphere out there?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, it's tough, because you knew it wasn't going to rain for that long. There weren't any real clouds, it was so windy that you knew it wouldn't stay. It is tough to go out there, warm up again. That is the hardest part about having to go out there, hitting again, restarting the match. You never want your momentum to die, if you have the momentum. I had 3-Love, two breaks. I didn't really like that first rain delay. The second rain delay, it was Love-1. That was a little bit better. I was able to hopefully change the momentum at that point. But it's tough. It's hard mentally more than anything.

Q. Your two possible opponents are very different players. Can you preview what you would need to do against Williams and then the possibility against Arantxa?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. Both would be completely different matches. Against Williams, you try and have to keep the ball deep, not let her be aggressive. We play similar styles of games in that we're both aggressive. If I can keep the ball deep and keep her off balance, that would be my game plan there. Against Arantxa, it would a little bit more like today, trying always to be the aggressor, trying always to attack her. A little bit faster court would help me a little bit against Arantxa. Hopefully I won't have to think about that until tomorrow or the next day.

Q. Do you think the weight of your stroke helps you on a day like this?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: What do you mean "the weight"?

Q. The weight.


Q. Power, yes.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think so. I think it helps against the wind especially. If you can hit the ball through the wind and really get the ball deep, I think that's kind of when it comes into play the most. When you're with the wind, if you don't hit the ball that hard, it's still going pretty hard with the wind. I think I was able to hit through the wind a lot better today and hold my serve on both sides of the court when it counted.

Q. Was the wind as much a factor last year, do you remember?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I'm telling you, I woke up this morning, I had nightmares of my match with Novotna last year. I won 7-6 in the third. The tennis is just not very good. Last week it wasn't like this, you know. I think last year on a few days it was like this, but I was watching last night, kind of had a hint that it might not be so good today. But really, when it's this bad, I mean, I don't remember it being this bad three years ago or four years ago. You just kind of have to hang in there, and you never know what's going to happen.

Q. I guess I'm asking whether the stadium --

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think it might be more windier in this new stadium. I don't know how that's possible. I don't know how you build something like that. It's definitely more of a factor this year. A couple days last year it was like this, but it is more so now than it was in years past.

Q. Before you had those nightmares last night, did you, by chance, watch baseball?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I did. I was flipping channel recall back and forth. I saw when he came up to bat. I'm a baby, I was crying so hard. I thought it was so great. When he saw his son at the end, that was fabulous. Missed first base. You know, I think it's true, it's one of those moments you probably won't forget where you were at. It's great. I mean, he seems like such a cool guy, such a giver back to the community. I was really happy.

Q. What sense of appreciation do you have for the athletic achievement? Unlike many of the players here, growing up American, following baseball, you've seen baseball players do different things. What's your feel for what he's done athletically?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I mean, it's amazing. I mean, we were talking in the locker room, Do you think that's the hardest thing in sports, to hit a home run? We had a few arguments. Definitely it is one of the toughest things. He makes it look easy. I think all the bad rap he's gotten about that drug, I think is kind of ridiculous because it's legal in that sport, and if it's legal in that sport, it is a non-issue to me. If you look at his arms, he's so strong, he knows where the ball is going, has a perfect swing. It hasn't been done in 37 years or whatever. I think he's going to break it by a long shot now.

Q. Back to the French Open with Aranxta, different surface of course, one of the big weapons you needed that day, your service, it wasn't there against her in that match. Have you gone back and tried to figure out what happened to your serve that day, how do you avoid losing it in the next semifinal?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No, I didn't go back to that day and think what happened. I didn't play that well, and she's a very good clay court player. Obviously, she went on to win the tournament. It was kind of tough that day. But each day is different. Hopefully I will serve well, that would help me, especially more so against Venus than Arantxa it would be more important to serve well. You never know what's going to happen if your serve is not working one day. Maybe can you win it with another aspect of your game. Maybe the serve will be there. I don't know.

Q. Is there a concern in your preparation that you really haven't been tested at all?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, people say that. But I think for this tournament, this is kind of what I've needed. I've been struggling with an elbow injury, I've been playing a lot of matches this summer. I think the more time I'd be out there on the court right now, it would hurt me. Some tournaments, you need a tough match to get through, not play well, scrape through, go on to do well. For me, really this is what I needed to do, win my matches quickly, get out of there, concentrate on the next match.

Q. Have you ever felt more prepared to win a Grand Slam title than you do this time?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, I think coming into this tournament, I definitely have a lot of confidence winning those three tournaments in California, on a hard court. Gave me the confidence to come in. I'm trying to get fitter, as each Grand Slam goes by, to get more fit. Trying to be more relaxed about every match. You know, mentally I feel great. Physically, I feel pretty good. Hopefully, it will be there Friday.

Q. Do you feel like you're the player to beat on this hard court?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: : Not necessarily. I think that there's still -- I think Hingis obviously is still No. 1 in the world, played a great match last night. Venus has played some good tennis so far this tournament. Even Novotna, she hasn't lost only very few times since Wimbledon. So I don't think like all the focus is on me.

Q. Do you feel less pressure in a way, expectations have never been higher, does it take some pressure off you?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, expectations are higher. But the tension has been focused on so many different players this year, that no one's really focused on me in every article that I'm going to win the tournament. Some articles say I might win; other ones say Martina might get it back here, Venus, this is her turn. It's really kind of a non-issue. I mean, if I'm playing well, yeah, I'm going to win it. If I'm not, I'm not going to win it. That's the case with some of the other players also.

Q. I guess I'm wondering, because you've played so well, gotten yourself in shape, obviously on a roll on the hard courts, do you actually come in here thinking, "If it's to be, it's to be, I've done everything I possibly can"?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: That's exactly how I feel. I feel I've done everything I can up to this point to try and win this tournament. I'm going to give it my best shot. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. If it happens, that's great.

Q. Is it nice to be asked about not being tested?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I guess (laughter). I haven't. I'm still in.

Q. You talked about Mark McGwire's trot around the bases. Have you thought about your moment?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Not really. I don't lie awake at night and just see myself winning a Grand Slam ever. For me, I've worked so hard. If it happens to come, it happens to come. It will be spontaneous.

Q. The other day you talked about driving yourself from the city out here. What kind of car are you driving? Do you put in a tape?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, this is what makes it a little nicer. I have a Mercedes CLK that Mercedes was nice enough to loan me. That was one of the reasons driving out here is a little nicer. I've been listening to the radio pretty much, and traffic.

Q. Do you view this match coming up being one of the biggest of your career?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Actually, no. I mean, I hate to always put so much pressure on one match, This is it, this my chance to get to the finals of the Open. I had a shot last year, maybe I'll have another shot next year. You never know when it's your time. It's going to be a big match. I hope I play better here than I did at the French in the semis. But you never know.

Q. Is there anything from last year's appearance that you can use or anything that you've held onto?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I think last year was my first semifinal. I played Hingis, who was definitely the dominant player at that time. It was a little bit windy. I was extremely nervous. I didn't play great. I played okay. But really in the semifinals you have to be -- you have to play great. Obviously, the other player on the other side of the net has won just as many matches and is still there. You really have to be concentrated and focused and play good tennis. That's what I'm going to try and do.

Q. Were you surprised to see Hingis' level of tennis last night?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I saw the end of the match. You could see when she won how happy she was. Almost like her -- her mom almost liked surprised, which I couldn't figure out. Obviously she's struggled. I don't know if you'd call it that, the last couple of weeks. You could just see in her eyes how much the win meant to her. She's had by far the toughest draw here of any seeded player. She's come through it not playing great tennis. You know, last night she played great tennis. You never know what happens. When you don't play well the first week, sometimes it comes on the second week. I'm sure her confidence will be rising for her next match.

Q. Last year some of the players talked about not really knowing Venus very well. She hadn't been around much, maybe kept to herself a little bit. A year later, do you feel you know her any better, or other players on the tour?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Like her game or as a person?

Q. As a person.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Not really. I think there's certain players that don't have that outgoing personality. Steffi Graf being one. I don't think anybody knows anything about her. I think Venus and Serena pretty much stick to themselves also. So, no, I don't, know, you know, what she likes to do or anything.

Q. Have you given any thought about No. 1?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, it's still 700 or 800 points. The gap was closed a couple weeks ago. I think Martina would have had to lose earlier here and I think I would have had to win. I don't think it's an issue here anymore.

Q. If you win this, beat anybody but Hingis in the final, you're No. 1.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I didn't know that. No, I haven't thought about it then (laughter).

Q. Any thought about it?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Not really. I mean, you know, really I'm just trying to win the tournament here. I haven't given that a thought. It's pretty much more important for me to try and win the tournament than to do the ranking.

Q. Talk about what you've done different physically to get yourself prepared for this tournament.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I think, you know, I've spent a lot more hours on the court this whole year. That's helped me physically and even helped me with my game. I think that I've played a lot of matches this summer, I've won a lot, which gave me a lot of confidence. Took a week off before New Haven, went to East Hampton, had a great time, rested a lot, practiced a lot, had a great time. I've really just run a lot of sprints, served a lot to try to get my serve better, just to try to be mentally stronger out there.

Q. What sort of regard do you have for Coetzer? If somebody came into that stadium today and never saw a tennis match, they would say, How can this be allowed, why is that large person allowed to beat up that little kid? What kind of regard do you have for her?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It's tennis. There's no requirements to play, no age requirements, no height requirement, no weight requirement. Tennis is tennis. I've always thought it's great, she's five feet, 5'1", in the Top 10, and she's done great. She's made definitely the most of her potential. But I can't help it that I'm a lot taller than her and I hit the ball harder. You know, you go out there and play the ball. That's all you can do. Thanks.

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