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September 8, 1999

Lindsay Davenport

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

WTA: Questions for Lindsay.

Q. What did you do during the rain delay?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Not much. I changed. It was a difficult rain delay because we didn't know exactly how long it was going to be. It wasn't like you could do anything much. It turned out to be an hour. I laid down. They were showing a little bit of Martin and Rusedski from last night. I was watching some of that. I talked to my coach for ten minutes, just kind of laid down, tried to relax as best I could.

Q. What were you thinking about?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, it's such a difficult position for a rain delay, more so for her, I'm sure. Had the momentum, broke, then we stopped. I was at a tricky situation, as well. I'm sure it was way worse for her. At the same time, you know, I would have liked to have kept going. I didn't want to run on that court, especially what happened last week. I was just thinking, you know, "Hold your serve." Just basic things. Nothing too mind-blowing.

Q. What were your thoughts at match point for Mary?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, there weren't too many thoughts. It goes by so fast. When I got down 5-3 in the third, I was thinking more like, "Just try and hold your serve here, make her serve for it." She had been serving so well. Besides the first set where I was able to break her, I wasn't even getting close to breaking her, maybe one or two times. She was still playing a great game. Hit a lot of winners. I was able to get some breaks. Maybe was a little bit more aggressive. The next thing I knew, it was 5-All. One match point was a great point. I ended up hitting a very good backhand. The next one she made an error. Like I said, it's 5-All. It just goes by so fast, you don't have time to really analyze things too much.

Q. Had it been too easy up until this match?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, who knows? You know, when I won here last year, when I won Wimbledon, I had all straight-set matches, a lot of them pretty easy. I don't think that was the problem. I think I played a good first set, had a few chances early in the second set; didn't take advantage of them. All of a sudden, all these errors started creeping into my game. With that, she just gained a ton of confidence and started stepping up and hitting the ball even harder and making them. She wasn't in the first set. Then I started playing off my back foot a lot. You know, I turned it around a little bit at 5-4. That was the game I thought I started playing more aggressive. At the end, you know, trying to hang in there and make shots, still try and be aggressive. But she was just keeping me on my back foot with so much power and depth.

Q. Do you get nervous in tight, tough matches like that?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You can't help but get nervous. Anyone who says they don't get nervous is lying. I feel so much better about playing tight matches now than I did two or three years ago. You know what to do, you know: hit the ball hard, but aim maybe not for the lines, or don't go for a winner return, but go for a deep and down the middle, certain things like that that you can play better on, or make first serves, don't hit a lot of second serves. I was enjoying the challenge. My first match point, she hit a great serve and cracked a winner. I'm like, "That's too good. Try and get another one." Just kept trying, even down game points. Finally able to get a double-fault, which is a sad way to end. I fought off a lot of game points that game, so I feel happy.

Q. Do you feel any extra pressure being a defending Champion?


Q. Straight-set victories are obviously nice. In a sense, you lost a set, you were able to turn things around and get back in it and win. Can you derive some confidence from the opportunity to do that?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. I mean, all I have to do is say, "Well, you know, I should have been home when the rain came. I should have been on my way to Manhattan and started packing to go home tomorrow morning." Just right there is a lot of confidence. I'm just lucky to be there. You have to go with that. Sometimes it just turns the tournament around, you play even better after that. I played great my first four matches. Today I played a great first set, then didn't play so aggressive.

Q. Do you plan on watching tonight?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I'll watch a little bit. I won't watch from 7:30 to whenever it ends. I'll probably watch a little bit. It's going to be just a hard-hitting match.

Q. You say in these kind of games you used to get nervous. How did you stop that, turn that around?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think experience comes into play a lot, just being in that position a lot of times. Two years ago in the quarterfinals, I played Novotna here, two years ago. I was down match point in that match, and ended up winning in a tiebreaker in the third. That was the first big match I came through on a really big scale. I was thinking about that out there today, thinking it was going to go to a tiebreaker, but it didn't. It's just something when -- some people when they're younger feel more free in tight matches and just go for winners, that's how they are. I was the opposite. I felt tighter when I was younger and I feel looser now. I think just going through the experience many times has helped gain confidence in those situations.

Q. What did Robert say to you?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I mean, he was obviously happy I was still there, but telling me that I better start playing a little bit more aggressive. He doesn't like to see me just getting dictated over the court, and she was doing that. He just said, "You need to step in and try and hit some balls and be aggressive as well. You're fighting great, but try in the next couple games, whether you win or lose, just try and be more aggressive and don't let her go for so many winners." It's tough to do. She's hitting the ball so hard; she's serving really well. I was doing that. I'm sure he's happy I won now.

Q. Did you take anything from that Rusedski/Martin match you were watching?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I turned it off when Todd was up a break in the fourth. I had to go to sleep. The first thing I did when I woke up this morning is checked the computer.

Q. When you were in the locker room, you watched it?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: They replayed it. They were only replaying the third set. I want to see the fifth. I didn't see that. For sure. What a huge effort he made. I knew he was a little bit sick before he went out there. Watching him the first two sets struggling was a little difficult. Seeing at the end how he pulled it out was just fantastic.

Q. Was there any match, two or three years ago, whatever, that really sticks in your mind where you didn't handle the big moment, where you got nervous and it really bit you?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: That was this year in the Australian Open against Mauresmo (laughter). Just a close match in a big opportunity that I lost. You know, sometimes you pull them out; sometimes you don't. That one, wouldn't necessarily blame it on nerves, maybe it was. Just not hitting the right shots at the right time. I pulled out like this one today. I didn't win that one. It's tough to compare. You just go through so many times that you lose close ones; you win close ones. It just goes in streaks, I think.

Q. Were you surprised how she tightened up today? Did you think she was beyond that?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I don't know. If you look at the game she served, I mean, for the match, she hit quite a few winners that game as well. It's not like she hit the fence and got broken at Love. I don't think she completely froze. I think she maybe got a little nervous. Everybody does it. I don't care if you're 1 in the world, 100 in the world, a guy or a girl. Everyone gets tight whenever you're serving for a match in a big situation, no matter how many times you go through it. I mean, you always just tell yourself to hang in there and you never know what can happen.

Q. Is she one of the few players that can back you up like that fairly consistently?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I've had a good success against her in the past. In the past, I've been the one dictating. Today, I just was on my back heels a lot. I think there's a lot of players that hit hard these days that can do it on any given day. Obviously the Williams hit the ball very hard. Monica, when she's on, can make anyone go on your back foot. It really depends on who's stepping up that day and being more aggressive.

Q. The rain started right as she was serving for the match. Did you kind of say, "Hmm, maybe this could be a good thing"?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No. I didn't want to play that game. I mean, I was so scared after seeing what happened to Mary Joe. Yeah, it's only spitting. It looks on the outside like it's not a big deal. If you put your foot on the line, you're sliding. I don't care if it's one drop or whatever. But it seemed like right at 5-All, it rained a little bit harder, hard enough to stop. No, I didn't think of it as any sign.

Q. You didn't want to stop the match in the middle of that game, did you?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I wanted to stop after the first point. Then it seemed to stop for those five or ten seconds, so we kept playing. It wasn't too bad. The drops started getting bigger towards the end of the game. It looked like it was going to start raining a little harder. I don't think it ever did, but it was pretty slippery.

Q. A lot gets written about your healthy relationship with your mom, the way you were raised. Is that part of why at this stage of your life you mention the maturity and being a little looser or is that more just about tennis?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Probably just about tennis. Yeah, I mean, winning this match, you know, I'm not going to give my mom credit (laughter), however she might like it. No, she's great. She was out there supporting me. That was great. You know, I've been on my own in my tennis career for six or seven years that I've played pro tennis.

Q. Billie Jean, passionate, outspoken legend has generally gotten real good reviews with her work with the Fed Cup team, as well as the individual players. I know it's on the men's side, but do you sense that John will bring a lot of energy and will help the American camp?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think there's no doubt he'll bring a lot of energy and a lot of excitement when he starts as captain. As far as everything else, I don't know that much. I don't know him that well. I don't know how the guys get along with him. At first when we heard Billie Jean was going to be the Fed Cup captain three or four years ago, none of us knew her that well. We were like, "Gosh, what it's it going to be like?" It's great. She's so positive. You know, she's a legend. John is the same in his career. I'm sure the guys have automatic respect for him, like we had for Billie Jean. Hopefully he does a good job. I don't know what's going to happen, though.

Q. Did you sense how dramatic that match was and how good it was for women's tennis?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No. I think you don't know what's going on when you're playing, whether it's good or bad tennis. We had one big point at 6-5, a really long point. Maybe I had a put-away, went back to her, she passed me. I was like, "Oh, God, that was a big point." The people were going nuts. I knew it was an exciting match. As far as what it holds, I don't really know.

Q. She had two match points against you; I think one of them was a long, long rally, the other one she hit a cross-court.


Q. When you were watching that ball come across, I'm sure you thought, "I can't get that."

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, it goes by so quickly. I mean, sometimes you can sense, just playing so many years, you think the ball's going out. I don't really remember, but it wasn't like this far out (indicating). It was like a good distance out (indicating). The point before was such a long point, a lot of groundstrokes, I hit just an angle winner. It's just a fluke. I could have easily missed one of those balls and been out of the tournament. This happens. You just have to go with it. Who knows?

Q. Steffi and Jana retiring, you're almost becoming an elder. What are your thoughts on the change in the chemistry on the Women's Tour?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It's always unfortunate when you have two great players that leave the game, especially so close to each other. At the same time, I mean, we're in a great position now where we can handle them leaving with so many young players playing well and so many stars. It loses a lot because it was exciting to have kind of the old versus the young. They seemed to be winning a lot of them, Graf and Novotna. It's disappointing to see them gone. At the same time, I said this when Steffi retired, it's great that these two have been able to play really healthy, successful careers and say when they want to stop. They both really seem at peace with it. That's how we all want to retire.

Q. You mentioned "The old versus the young." There's a match like that tonight. Any predictions?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. Serena has beaten her both times, I think easily. I'm not sure on that. It's a tough match. These are the matches that everyone gets excited for, when the older players play the younger players. Even when the younger players play each other. I have no idea on a fast court what's going to happen. I think Serena's come back from the last few matches after losing the first set, fought really hard to be where she is, I think her first quarterfinal, she's really pumped up. Monica is trying to make her way back. I've learned you can never know when you predict matches. I have no clue.

Q. One you'd rather face?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Not necessarily. They both play similar, hard-hitting styles of game. Both serve well. Serena is probably a little bit more athletic and plays a little bit better defense. After that, it's pretty similar, I think.

Q. You talked about what last year meant. Coming in as the defending champion, winning a match like this, at any level does this begin to even mean more?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Probably coming back as a first time defending Champ of a Grand Slam, you don't really know what to expect. My first four rounds I played really well. I'm excited the way I handled it, excited to be playing again. To pull a match out like this in the same court where I had a lot of success, fought so hard, to still be in a tournament the semifinals the next year is exciting. Really, I have enjoyed playing here. I've been really excited every match. Like I said, I love this court out here. I think it's fast. I think it's good for my game. I've had a good time trying to defend this title, whether it ends Friday, ends Saturday, whatever. Pulling a match out like this makes it probably even more special than just winning 3 and 3 or whatever the score would be.

End of FastScripts…

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