Lindsay´s interview, on not being thrilled with seeding, serena´s outfit and us pros
L. DAVENPORT/A. Parra Santonja
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lindsay, please.
Q. Your first opponent, you knew her name began with a K and ended in 'ova'. What did you know about this one?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Definitely knew who this player was. I hadn't seen her play tons of tennis before. I saw her play a little bit on clay at Roland Garros, but obviously a lot different. She came out hitting the ball pretty hard. I was maybe just a little bit on my heels in the beginning, not expecting that much of an aggressive play from especially probably a claycourt player and Spaniard. You know, I just felt like it took me a while to get going. You know, my last two matches, until I've been able to get that lead in the first set in the break, then I feel like I play really well. But, you know, I'm definitely going to have to do something to try to get off to a quicker start in the next match.
Q. Does it bother you as a veteran player, you're cruising along at 5-Love, you get loose, double-fault, couple backhands, don't close it out the way you want to? Do you let that slide and say, "It just happened," or you want to kick yourself?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I mean, kick yourself a little bit. It's -- you know, no matter what the score is, you shouldn't be able to lose your concentration. That's would be one of the things I've done well this whole summer, is no matter what the score was, playing really solid, playing really tight tennis where there's no loose errors. Today it definitely went off a little bit in the second for those two and a half games. More importantly, was able to right the ship at 5-2 and still get out of there. Yeah, that hasn't happened to me very much at all this summer. I'm going to have to try to not let that happen again.
Q. How did you feel today?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, felt better. Really felt like in the beginning of the match I wasn't really inside the court or being very aggressive. Took me about middle of the first set till I really felt like I was a little bit more -- hitting with authority and moving forward.
Q. Is that partly when you're in a big, empty stadium early in the morning, is it hard to get revved up?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, I've been practicing early so I thought I'd be really ready to go on point one. It took a few more games. I don't know. Maybe I'll have to do some sprints before I go out there or something next time.
Q. Some people might take it personally. When you say 11 o'clock in the morning, somebody's later on, you know there's not going to be anybody there. Do you care much?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think it's the best time to play. I'm going to be home by like 1:45 (laughing). So, no, I think it's great. I mean, some players are more morning people than others. I mean Graf used to love to play really early. I don't really care too much. But when it's over, I'm happy that it's only 12:30 when I walked off the court and not waiting around all day after a men's match and, you know, here all the time.
Q. Not too many people in the stands.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Doesn't bother me. I just want to get the match over with and have a victory.
Q. Are you amused by the attention of Serena's outfits this week or is it expected?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, I'm not -- 'amused' is probably a good word. I'm not shocked. She is definitely wearing some stuff we haven't seen before (smiling).
Q. Are you irritated at all by your seeding here?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, I understand it. I, you know, was more irritated that this is the fourth Grand Slam of the year that I got bumped to 5 because of special seeding purposes, so it's a little disheartening. You know, when I got my special ranking I was only given one Grand Slam. I didn't get to use all my tournaments, and they took it away from me and said, "Okay, you've had three months." Definitely made it eight months for these players now. Just wish that the rules were fair across the board and not changed every time that the tour wants to change a rule for a player.
Q. Have you asked anybody about it?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Oh, yeah (laughing).
Q. What was your response?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, I didn't really get a good response. I didn't really get any. So I just, you know, just got to roll with the punches.
Q. Are you especially irritated because you're bumped to a 5, which puts you out of the Top 4?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, there's obviously a big difference between 4 and 5. I mean, that's probably the biggest difference you can get in draws. And, you know, I totally understand the special seedings and I rolled with it in Australia, rolled with it at the French when I got the 5, rolled with it at Wimbledon. Then finally in the summer I'm like, "Since you guys didn't even let me use eight tournaments, you expired it on me, didn't let me carry it over to Australia, just a little confused why we've gotten -- some players get to use it for every Grand Slam." "Oh, well, the rule changed." You know, I don't know. They just kind of make them up as they go. But you do have to beat every player to win, and I knew that. I look forward to hopefully fulfilling that no matter who you play.
Q. Not too many reasonable people would debate special rankings, but special seeding, what is the point of that?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, it helped me out a ton in 2002. It helped me get back on my feet after being off the tour for a long time, especially after having a pretty tough surgery. And, you know, I just thought that there should be maybe, you know -- I was given three months and then it was clearly I was denied to use it again. This time it just seemed they've gotten about seven or eight months. So, you know, I agreed with the special seeding. When I agreed with it, I didn't know that the length of time would be so long. But, you know, it was invaluable to me in my comeback, and I'm very grateful that they did that for me in 2002.
Q. How does this year feel different to you than in the past few years?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think, you know, last year it was a tough Grand Slam when we didn't have either Venus or Serena. It was, you know, I think even the crowd was a little bit affected by it, the people watching TV. I mean, this year you've got all the players playing except for Kim. A little bit more excitement going. For me, personally, I feel like I'm in a great position, that I've done everything that I could possibly do to be ready to play here and do well, and now you just see what happens. I'm excited but know that I've got some really tough matches coming up, especially next round; I play Bovina who's a very good player. I'm going to have to start to play well. But I feel great about how I've gotten to this point.
Q. When you look behind you at sort of the state of women's tennis in America, what do you see? What do you see on the horizon?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I mean, the last few years it's been a lot of focus obviously on Venus and Serena the most and also Jennifer, myself, and even Chanda, we've had five really solid players, four in the Top 10 almost the whole time. Unfortunately, haven't really felt like that next crop has come up to say like, "Oh, okay, we're going to be Top 30 for a little while, then move into the Top 10." So, you know, you hope that some of the girls are going to break through to be above, like I said, a Top 30 player, Top 20, because obviously Jennifer and I are now 28, you know. Venus and Serena are obviously still young, but you still want to see new girls go in there. I haven't seen too much yet. I mean, I hope it kind of changes and out of nowhere a couple girls come up.
Q. Is that maybe a by-product of Title IX, now that there are so many other sports, that girls can go get scholarships, play in the pros?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, it definitely could be. There's a lot more opportunities for female athletes. You can see that at the Olympics with softball, basketball, soccer. But sometimes I think in tennis it's just cyclical. Whatever group comes up, I mean, the men in the early '90s had one of the best groups ever in the Courier, Sampras, Agassi era. You also had players like Todd Martin, Mal Washington, who were really solid with that whole group. We're just kind of waiting for the next group to come up, and hopefully they come up together out of nowhere next year (laughing). I don't know, though...