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June 24, 2008

Lindsay Davenport


L. DAVENPORT/R. Voracova
6-3, 5-7, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, Lindsay Davenport. Who would like to ask the first question.

Q. Give us an update on the kid.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Are you serious? He's doing just great, thank you. Almost walking. Very talkative. Very energetic. For the most part pretty happy.

Q. Two-handed backhand?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Almost. He has to hold a two-handed forehand still.

Q. He's not traveled here?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, he's here.

Q. How are you finding that? Does that help you, do you think, stay focused?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I mean, it's obviously more of a challenge than life used to be just because there's always something going on and to look after him.
And certainly days like today where I haven't seen him since I left the house at noon, so obviously that gets pretty tough.
But we have a great time. He's a lot of fun to hang out with. There's a lot of downtime when you're on the tennis tour. Definitely occupies my time. There's no free time.

Q. Did you think you'd be back here?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I did not. It's a real treat, a real honor and privilege. Real excited to be back here and be able to play.
You know, I've had some of my greatest memories here. What started off as a Grand Slam that I probably liked the least definitely turned into one I liked the most in the latter part of my career.

Q. It looked like your knee was kind of a problem or was bothering you, and then you had the trainer come out. Can you tell us where you feel you're at?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It's not ideal. It's been bothering me now for a few weeks. It's coming more from the back of the knee. Did an MRI and it looked good.
In the latter stages of the second set I definitely felt like it was getting worse. I didn't feel great in the third. Luckily I was able to, you know, hit some good shots and go for winners.
I actually felt like I started hitting the ball a little bit better because I felt like I needed to do more with it. I'm just hoping it pulls up well. Some days it feels okay, and other days it is a problem. This morning it was definitely more swollen and a little bit of a problem.
Two days ago it felt perfect. It's frustrating. I'm not really sure what to say every day.

Q. Is the course of action not to maybe practice as much?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, exactly. And, you know, right before I started to try and do a little bit more, because obviously you want to do well and be really sharp for a Grand Slam and just pulled up today just a little bit sore. So, you know, we'll see what happens.

Q. What was the doctor able to detect?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Not much yet. Just that I have some pain in some tests, but structurally my knee looks really good. That's what helps me because, you know, obviously it's impossible, or near impossible, to play tennis with a meniscus problem or ACL or something of that nature. I look good in all those tests.

Q. The first few months you were back everything went right, beautifully right. Now the last few months have been a little bumpier. Does that part of your voyage remind of why you stepped away in the first place?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, it was such bliss for the first six months playing and being healthy and being able to practice a hundred percent. I really enjoyed it.
But as every athlete goes through, you always have your injuries. And especially when you're older and have played for a long time, they seem to creep up more.
And it is a struggle. I felt like I prepared really well up until about two weeks before Wimbledon. And then, you know, some nagging injuries started to happen, wasn't able to do everything I could the two weeks leading into this tournament. But I had a really good four or five weeks before.
You know, you got to kind of stay in the present. For me, right now it's about getting my knee better to play again on Thursday. So it would be impossible for me to speculate like, Oh, this is going to really bum me out or this is going to really affect me, because for right now it's Wimbledon. I'm here, and I'm just kind of focusing on that.

Q. They put about five pounds of tape on your right knee. Do you think then Nike would then put a logo on that?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Maybe we should do that.

Q. What kind of follow-up tests might be needed on the knee?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I'm sure I will see the doctor later. I kind of will go with what he recommends. I don't know at this point.

Q. At the beginning of the match, did you have the wrap on the calf from the start?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I had the back of my knee taped for the start, and then for the third set I had pretty much my whole knee taped.

Q. Did that bother you?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It actually felt better when it was taped. Felt a little bit more secure.

Q. When you're packing for Wimbledon now with your son, do you bring a lot of stuff? Do you rent things here? Do you bring a lot of toys?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: We pretty much buy a lot of toys every stop we go. It's really hard to kind of always take those with. Then we donate them at the end of our stay in a certain city.
Most hotels come equipped with the basic essentials, like a bed and a high chair or stuff. Here we're renting a flat. They provided those for us. You know, we bring our own bottles and stuffed animals, stuff like that.
But, yeah, it's the most stressful time, the first couple days before we leave. There's a lot of stuff I have to organize and make lists. It's like my stuff is so secondary, it's funny now that I used to complain about packing for myself.

Q. You're a playing mom. Were you surprised by the amount of playing dads you know around?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It is probably easier for a guy to come back after having a child than a woman (laughter). It's not that they're not involved, but physically it might be a little bit easier.
But I think it's great. We don't have a lot of playmates for Jagger on the WTA Tour. It's very nice when we go to some of the mixed events. He seems to meet more friends, meet more people.

Q. As you probably know, the men's tour is having a lot of political difficulties right now, including the biggest complaint, a communications disconnect between the chairman and the leadership of the players. How has the WTA avoided any communications disconnect?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think after Larry had been on the job the first few years it was very apparent he was doing a great job, was being the leader we were kind of looking for for so many years of my career.
I think that the players put their trust behind him. He set certain rules and didn't make exceptions for top players or for certain players. I think the players earned a lot of respect for him.
You know, he's done amazing things for women's tennis and gotten us more prize money, more opportunities. That's all we were asking for. I think he has a great staff. I think they do a great job of trying to explain rules, get our feedback. You know, so far top players are pretty happy.

Q. How does he stay in touch with the top players on the tour?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It's a little tough for me to say because the last two, two and a half years I haven't been all that involved. I'm not really a top player any more.
You know, I get certainly a lot of emails from the WTA Tour asking about things. You know, they're always trying to get opinions, it seems like.

Q. You feel like you're right in the loop of all the major decisions?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No, not necessarily. And I rather enjoy that (smiling).

Q. Did it feel kind of like you're starting a new season because it's been so long since you played a match on tour?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, it was only April. I've gone longer. Yeah, this was the whole time of year that I'm really excited for, starting here.
Obviously the Olympics and US Open. So, yeah, I've got two and a half, three months of some really exciting times ahead. You know, I hope I can improve and physically be okay and try and enjoy the best time of the year for me as a player.

Q. How much of the French Open did you watch?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I could watch a little bit, and that was between, California time, 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. I wasn't trying to avoid it. To try to get a one-year-old to sit still through a tennis match is not possible.
I tried to watch the men's final. Unfortunately, when I had woken up, it was almost over.

Q. As you may know, Tiger Woods just had this incredible performance with a problematic knee. Were you aware of that, and could you reflect on that?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I was aware of it. I watched it, like most people did. It's amazing. I had a lot of respect for him. He did great.
So, you know, he's obviously shutting it down for a while now. We hope to see him back soon. But, yeah, I think everyone watching that had a newfound respect for him and everything that he stands for.

Q. When you do have an injury, in some way does it just really increase your concentration even more?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It depends. You know, for me, at this stage of my career it's okay. You know, I think when you're 19, 20, 22, you have a major injury, you have to look ahead to the future. When you're my age, you look ahead to that match, and that's all you're really worried about.
It can work both ways. I found it really tough sometimes to play with injuries, and I found it helps me play better at other times. It kind of depends what you're dealing with.

Q. Scouting report on Gisela Dulko.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I've played her a few times. I know clay is probably her favorite surface. I played her this year in Indian Wells. I'm going to have to be aggressive, keep the points short. Like she doesn't have a huge serve. She moves well. I think her backhand might be a little bit better.
I think pace of shot might be coming -- the serve might be coming a little slower than I was receiving today. Hopefully that will give me some opportunities and some good looks.

Q. It sounds like you've lowered your expectations quite a bit, maybe not just for this tournament, but in general. Is that tough for a former No. 1, three-time Grand Slam champion, saying, I might get to the second week, maybe not, and if I don't, that's okay?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I don't think I said that.

Q. Intimating.

Q. That's my feeling.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, no. I mean, I wouldn't come here if I didn't think I would do really well. Obviously, if an injury comes up you have to do the best you can to try and combat that.
But, no, I mean, I'm not here going, Gosh, I hope I get to the second round. That would be great. I haven't lost before the quarters here since I think '98. So, no, I have a lot of pride playing here and look to do well.

Q. Can you talk about the Olympics and why that's so important to you?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I'm so excited to go. That was my No. 1 goal and challenge when I came back from having my baby: to try and make the Olympic team. You know, when they picked the team, I think my ranking was 25, the third-ranked American behind the Williams. Not that easy to do not playing that many tournaments and not having a lot of time.
So to qualify was a huge excitement. It was a huge, like I said, goal that I achieved. And my family's excited. You know, I've always said that my medal has meant more to my family, meaning my parents and my sisters, all of them, than anything else I've achieved. You know, they're looking forward to it quite a bit.

Q. How is it different, winning an Olympic medal versus a slam?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I think you look at an Olympic event and you kind of push them all together like an Olympic medalist, Grand Slam champion. I think Olympic medalist kind of infers other sports, you did it for your country.
That was the case in '96. I think I played so well. It was my first breakthrough tournament because I was in my country with my fans. It was kind of a team event, as much as it can be in an individual sport. I loved it.
I look forward to sharing in that experience again.

Q. Are you going to play doubles? If so, with who?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, I haven't been told. I know the USTA is still deciding exactly what they're going to do with the players they've chosen. I've said I'm available to play doubles, but I'll respect whatever decision they make and who they think the best team is.

Q. The No. 1 player in the world happens to be chosen, so that would be a pretty good pairing, I would think.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I mean, she's definitely playing doubles. I think they're looking at a number of combinations. If the Williams want to play -- I don't know if they want to play. I think they do. Whoever they think Huber plays well with.

Q. Describe the feeling you had on the podium when they started playing the Star Spangled Banner.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: A little bit -- like in the beginning I said I would never forget it. Every time I would hear the national anthem, I would always think of that moment. Then we have like, you know, season tickets to hockey. We go to all these baseball games. You start hearing it like a hundred times a year, and I try to remember every time. I think I've forgotten a few times.
But it was mostly disbelief at that time.

Q. You were pretty young.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I was young. I wasn't supposed to win. I beat Arantxa, who was a heavy, heavy favorite. It all happens so fast when you're in the moment. I remember thinking, I'm never going to forget it. It's like, Oh, God.

Q. What about the near disaster of losing the medal itself. Where is it now?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I'm pretty sure we recovered it (laughter). Although I haven't seen it lately, I think the ribbon part molded. My husband was really upset at my mom because she left in it a safe that had some mold. The gold medal part didn't mold, but the ribbon part that it was on, we had to throw that away. We have the actual medal. He has it. He put it somewhere safe (laughter).

Q. This comes up with lot with the men because of the big serves, but how much do you think the surface has slowed here?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It's slowed a lot. I think it's slower than three years ago. I mean, I could be hitting the ball slower, too (laughter).
Yeah, I mean, it's amazing. The biggest thing is I think the ball bounces higher than it used to. There's definitely some speed taken off, which I think is great, especially for men's tennis.
I think you'll see more returns back in play. It's still fast. Obviously it's grass, but it's definitely playable grass as compared to the '90s and even the early 2000 years, I think.

Q. Is that the ball or is it the surface?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It could be both, I think. The balls are pretty heavy. I've never strung my racquets at 59 pounds, and I keep going down here. They feel heavy, everything.

Q. You talked about the rankings, where the Williams sisters are. If you look further down below you, there seems to be quite a substantial gap. Do you have any insight as to why you think that might be? Is it something you think experienced players like yourself, when you're no longer playing, can rectify to bring the next generation through?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I mean, you hope so. You never know quite what it is to get more girls playing and to have them succeed. It seems to me to be an overall cultural change in the United States. I think other girls are picking other sports and not just picking tennis.
I know in the early '80s trying to pick a sport, there weren't all that many for me to choose from. There was a lot of my friends playing tennis.
I don't see the same - at least where I live - that a lot of girls are playing tennis. I see a lot of girls playing volleyball, soccer and other sports. I think the message should be resent out that tennis is -- I don't know how you do that - more fun or more entertaining.
You know, a lot of girls are drawn to team sports. It's not as much fun being out there by yourself. It takes a special kind of individual to really kind of thrive in that environment.
So however we can get more racquets in little girls' - I say little girls - but young ladies' hands and get them to kind of learn the game again I think is the important first step.
To get tennis more popular in the United States, it's kind of slipped in the rankings of sports watched on TV and overall popularity in the public. I don't know exactly what the answers are to get it to be more popular, but worldwide it's definitely a bigger hit than in the United States.

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