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August 31, 1999

Lindsay Davenport


WTA: Questions for Lindsay.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your friendship with Corina?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. She's been a very good friend of mine, especially over the last six months or so. I talked to her in May about playing doubles. We started playing since Wimbledon. She's one of the nicest girls on the Tour. She's getting married in November. Overall, the group of friends that we are, we're going, Lisa, Mary Joe, myself, Kim Po, a bunch of players. It will be fun.

Q. Does that make it tough to go out there?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It's always tough playing someone you know. But I think the circumstances of it being the US Open, of me being the defending champion, I took it very seriously. Sometimes when you start off against somebody that's a good opponent, you have to raise your game from Round 1 instead of maybe playing some loose games. I didn't want to do that today, so I came out pretty fired up and played very well.

Q. Given your performance in the last three tournaments, how important was it for you to get off to a good start here?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, it's been just a really average kind of last few tournaments: a win, two semis and a final. On paper, that's not bad. Not terrific losses. I don't feel like I played tremendous in any of my losses. To come out and start off well is just what I wanted to do. To win the first set 6-0, get all the nervous energy out of the way in the first set, come back to the court where I have so many great memories from last year, to play so well. I hit here Saturday night after losing the finals in New Haven. As soon as I hit out here, I really like that court a lot. Hopefully I'll play a few more matches out there.

Q. Do you ever look at taped replays of your matches?


Q. Break down the last two Venus matches. What do you think went wrong?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think at San Diego, I was a little bit tired from the last two weeks. I thought neither one of us played particularly well, kind of a sloppy final. She just won the bigger points where I made a few too many errors. Last week she played very well, one of the best matches she's played against me. It was on a very slow court. It was hard for me to hold serve. I just thought I didn't make the right shots at the right time. You know, didn't play great on Saturday. When I left there, I didn't feel too bad about it. I think I know how to beat her and what to do. Hopefully I'll get another opportunity somewhere along the line to do it.

Q. Are you disappointed with the last three tournaments, or were you thinking not to get too tired for the US Open, when you get here, you wanted to be primed and ready to go?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No. I would've taken wins in all of them. I think in the back of my mind I was always looking towards the US Open in a weird way. I was just losing my concentration the last few tournaments. I don't know why that is. I've got to try really hard here not to do that. Hopefully that's not a problem. As soon as I lost on Saturday, I was ready to go, come here, get going for the US Open, know that it's going to be extremely difficult to defend. I'm going to have to play very well. Also excited to get it going, to be out here. You know, so far, so good. One match down. I played very well. But my draw is tough. I don't have anybody weak in my section of the draw, from Round 1 all the way through. My next match against Dragomir, she's ranked in the top, I think 25, is another tough match.

Q. What does it say about your development that a couple years ago you played Mary Joe in a match, it was very emotional for you, since she was your friend, you guys were almost crying and hitting at the same time, and to play Corina and really show a businesslike attitude in taking her out? What does that show, what does it say to you?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think I've realized the bigger tournaments, how much they mean. It was always tough to play Mary Joe, especially at the Olympics. That's where the hardest thing was because we were supposed to be a team. That was really tough. But at the same time, you know, I was 18 then, I wasn't 23. I didn't have Grand Slam titles. I didn't realize how important the biggest tournaments are. These four tournaments that we have every year. You know, I want to do well here. It's tough to play her. I knew she wasn't playing maybe her best tennis, but I thought I was playing very well. To win in two sets, get going, get out of there, is what I wanted to do today.

Q. Doubles always gets second shrift in tennis. You and Corina might be the best American doubles team right now. If you won, how important would it be to be No. 1 at the end of the year in doubles? Is it a gravy thing or something terribly important to you?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It's not terribly important to me. When we won Wimbledon, that was unbelievable. That was really great. We'll try and do it again here. You know, if ranking meant a lot to me, I think I only have 12 tournaments on the computer. We play best of 18. It's tough to do that. I'd probably play a little bit more doubles. It's a lot of fun, but at the same time, I think when you lose, you're fine with it, you can go on. It pretty much is just a bonus, what you do in doubles.

Q. The Women's Tour had a stake in the Petr Korda case, as well, trying to see that as a strong anti-doping program. The ruling came down today from the arbitration committee against Korda, essentially saying it is up to the player to show the burden of proof that he knew what was in his system or not. How do you feel about the ITF winning that case?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I didn't know anything about it till you just said that. You know, I look at it where if you test positive, you test positive. We've had a few cases where people accidentally took something, they didn't know it, I think, in a diet pill. He never came out and said why he thought it had gone into his system. It was always kind of a really gray area. I think it should be one of the toughest things we have on the Tour, the anti-doping. I don't think it's fair when people do that. You have to take responsibility and get out of the game for whatever your punishment is. I think he's retired already, so I think it doesn't mean that much right now. Hopefully you can say that you just can't say, "I didn't take it," and get off.

Q. It cost him more than half a million dollars.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Really? I don't know all the specifics. I mean, he fought hard. Players don't know exactly what happened. It just seemed kind of odd that he would test positive, not know how it got there.

Q. Will you be glad to see that strong program?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Oh, yeah. I think that -- a lot of money should go into that to make it stronger.

Q. Do you think Kim Po has any chance against Serena tonight?


Q. Since you mentioned she's your friend, I thought you might want to give her a boost.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think her best chance would be in the first round where sometimes you don't know how the good players, the top players, are going to play. Kim is tricky to play. Her ball stays very low. There's not a lot of spin. I'm sure if she played great, she'd have a shot. I think she'd have to play one of the best matches to beat Serena. She seems like she's playing very well right now.

Q. How do you feel about Pete Sampras' withdrawal?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I was sad. I heard it when I was waiting to play. It's too bad. An injury in any sport is a real bummer, but to miss a Grand Slam, especially being an American, to miss the US Open, to miss the chance to win his 13th Grand Slam title, it's terrible. But I think as tennis players, we're lucky. We have four of these a year. Besides the Australian Open, I don't think he's missed one with an injury for a little while. He'll be back. At the same time, it's a real blow to the tournament and the fans, and even the players.

Q. You said you came back here and hit on Saturday. Did everything just kind of come back to you, all the good feelings from last year? Are you driving back and forth like you did last year?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yes, I am driving back and forth again. Yeah, even just coming through the gates, we came Saturday night, so there weren't a lot of people around, so that was really neat. To just go back out there and hit and be by ourselves, because the place was empty after Kids Day, we hit around 7 o'clock. It was great. I was really excited, jumping all around, running for the ball. It was a lot of fun. This court, I mean, my first Grand Slam title, winning here last year, will always mean a lot.

Q. How often do you get caught up in really ugly traffic coming out here?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Not too bad, if you listen to the news before you leave. Not too bad. The worst time I got stuck was going home last year after the semifinals. There was a jumper on the bridge. I swear, I had to play the finals the next day, and it took us an hour and 45 minutes to get back. The whole bridge was closed because there was some jumper. That was the worst. Now we listen to the news before we leave.

Q. That didn't convince you to find some other --?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: For me, being in transportation, I prefer not having maybe a driver. I prefer being able to do the radio, not having to ride with anybody. If I want to not talk or if I want to sleep or whatever, I just feel more comfortable.

Q. As the defending champion, you've worked long and hard to reach the level you're at right now. With the Wimbledon championship, how different is it coming in? Is there more pressure or does it give you more confidence?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think there's a little bit of pressure about being the defending champion in one way. But I think in one year I've learned how important and how much more satisfying it is to win the Grand Slams. To win two, you just realize how important these events are. I used to not understand it, but I understand it to a certain degree, that these are more exciting to play. There's more people watching, your blood starts flowing more, you get more nervous. I actually look forward to the Grand Slams now. Before, I used to be a little bit nervous maybe to play them. But it's a great opportunity to go out and just give it your all and see if you can win the biggest tournaments in the world. So to come in here, I'm excited. I think I got a lot of nerves out of the way today by getting out of the first round. Now I'm just excited to go on. Like I said, I have a very tough draw. I can't let up for a moment. It's not going to be easy. Just keep playing aggressive and hopefully things will work out.

Q. When did that change?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't know. I know when I lost the Australian Open, the semis, was the most disappointed I've been in a loss, maybe in my career. It's hard to compare, but I was pretty down. Although I didn't feel like I did too many things wrong, it was such a blow to lose that match. Maybe there I realized how much more important the Grand Slams are. After having won the US Open and going for the Australian Open, not doing it, I was pretty low. But then coming back to win Wimbledon and playing great, you know, you just realize -- you get more excited when you win. It's just hard to describe, I guess.

Q. There are players who can get to the quarters or semis of a Grand Slam, something clicks into their brain, they can't get any farther. You finally achieved your first Grand Slam win. Can you define what it is that takes you over the last plateau?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: For everybody it's different. For me, I got to the semis a few times, I would lose: "Are you ever going to get to the finals?" For me, it was getting experience. Getting to your first semifinal, it's a nerve-wracking thing to go play it. After playing a few, I realized the way I wanted to play, the right way to play. I just started playing better in the latter parts of Grand Slams, partly because I got in a little better shape so maybe I wasn't tired at the end of the two weeks. I built up a lot of confidence. I don't know exactly what it is that drives somebody to finally win a Grand Slam title. For me, it took a few tries. It took some experience. It took some failing. It took some good tennis to get through. That all just came with learning.

Q. So much has been made of the women's game being ahead of where the men have been in terms of interest. Do you see the momentum shifting back to the middle a little bit? How severely do you think Pete's loss might impact the tournament?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I haven't worried about what sport is better, who do the fans want to watch more? To me building women's tennis, getting it stronger, having more players is the most important thing. Men's tennis doing well essentially helps women's tennis doing well. It's a huge blow to have Pete out. All the Americans were hoping for a Pete-Andre final, all the excitement that brings. It's a real downer. Andre is amazing. He can bring the level of the sport up like no other player. The interest that he's now caused in tennis in general, especially in men's tennis the last few months, has been incredible. Everybody hopes he plays well and stays at the top to continue that interest. At the same time, the women are doing well. I don't think there has been a time in the past when Steffi Graf could have been retired, it being bad, but we're still okay. We still have a lot of stars. Hopefully we can still go on.

Q. The race No. 1 on the men's Tour. How does it feel to be part of a race for No. 1 in the Women's Tour with you and Martina?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It's exciting. We've switched a little bit over since the last year. I don't think about it too much. I've never tried to worry about the rankings because you drive yourself crazy hoping Martina loses, "What is her draw like?" I've tried never to do that. For me, winning tournaments, winning Grand Slams, if I won, that's great, if not, so be it.

Q. Is the ranking important?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: For me, not so important.

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