L. DAVENPORT/V. Williams
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. She seemed to lock onto your serve in that final game. One big serve down the middle. Why did you choose down the middle?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, I tried the others on the other match points. I was back to the T. But yeah, it was such a tough game. You know, it probably should have been 5-All. I didn't play the greatest game. But still to come out and win it, pretty exciting. She came up with a few good shots. You know, wanted to go up the T, make her hit a good forehand to save other match point. Luckily went out.
Q. Was it at those moments that you were able to draw upon all the confidence that you derived from the summer?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It helped. You know, I didn't play a good game. I had a few match points where I didn't play well. Still I felt like, "I can still win this game." Maybe that's from winning a lot of matches now. You know, I still felt like her errors were going to come back, and just to hang in there. You know, if she can come up with a bunch of winners, that's too good. But, you know, I was banking on the other happening.
Q. The match lasted one hour and 42 minutes. How long did the last game feel like?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It felt like a while after the first two match points (laughter). But, yeah, it's a tough one to get through. I mean, I wanted to win so badly, and I played such a great, you know, calm match until that point, and then let a few errors creep in. You know, she definitely hit some good shots, too. It's just a combination I think there.
Q. When you hear an opponent pick up her grunt like she did in that last game, what message does it send to you, if any?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I'm always intrigued by people and their grunts. Sometimes they get louder the closer it gets. I'm not sure what that is a result of. I think you either grunt all the time or you don't, I don't know. A couple players tend to do that.
Q. Is it an indication she's more into the match at all?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, I don't know. I don't know. I'm not a grunter (smiling).
Q. You've discussed this a lot in the last two months, that you came to Wimbledon, it was like the end of everything, and now it looks like it's starting all over. Each win, are you at all amazed or excited? Can you believe what's happening this summer?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: All of those. You know, I mean, I definitely have worked harder since last November than I ever have, spending a lot of time in the gym, with the trainer. So I was hoping those results would pay off. You know, my tennis has gotten better, but I think the most important thing was, you know, at Wimbledon, I said this even after I lost, gosh -- I felt like I finally was hitting the ball better, and I didn't pull out that match in the semifinals. But I remember thinking that whole tournament, like, "Gosh, finally I'm feeling a little better here." I walked away from Wimbledon not negative, but positive and looking forward to the summer. After that first win in Stanford, it just seems like all the confidence kind of came back to me after winning a close title match. You know, I've just kind of gone with it since then.
Q. There was a very key point in the first set when you finally broke her. It was 5-5, deuce, you had to make a very difficult stretch return on the backhand side. How difficult was that? How close did you come to not getting that return?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. I think it went probably high and deep maybe. I don't remember. But, yeah, you know, big couple points there. I mean, I wanted to get the balls in on the big points and make her play and make her beat me. A couple time I was kicking myself because I was missing my returns or not playing really percentage tennis. But, you know, a couple times I was able to get another shot back. And, you know, one or two points decided the first set, and again with the second set. So, you know, I'm just happy I hung around there.
Q. Even with all of that, as much confidence as you have, how hard is it to serve out a match against Venus?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, I felt okay until I lost about the second match point. Then you get a little like, "Oh, no, don't do this ." But, you know, when I went back to serve, I felt good. I came up with some good serves and good forehand winners to set it up. But then, you know, wrongly so, I was then waiting for her to make the error. You know, you probably shouldn't play like that, but she was giving me so many errors, it's hard to then go for shots and miss them. So, you know, then saving like the third or fourth breakpoint, then finally I was able to win.
Q. How unfortunate is it you had to play her in this Round of 16, then Asagoe? Does it seem a bit backwards to have that situation?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Maybe in terms of name recognition and in terms of the draw and fans and stuff. But you know, you can't help where other players are ranked, how their year has gone, where they're put in draws. You know, it's a tough Round of 16 match. You know, I certainly don't want to have a letdown now. Even though it seems my opponent might not be as good as Venus, I'm sure that's not the case. I've played her once or twice before. For me it's still a quarterfinal match and one that I have to take like it's going to be tougher.
Q. How tough is it to play Venus right now when there are times when she'll hit the ball out, then times when she can make a shot that no one else in tennis can make?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, it's easier playing her now than three years ago when they were all going in (laughter). You know, I think that someone who is very fast and can get a lot of balls in, you know, I'm not that type of player. So I think if I had kept some more balls in at different times, maybe I would have gotten some more breaks. But, you know, it's not really my style of game. But, you know, doesn't hurt to see like 40 or 50 unforced errors in a two-set match. I mean, that's going to help anybody's cause to win.
Q. Without that knee under control, who gets credit for bringing that knee under control so you can win 21 matches?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, a lot of people. My trainer, Todd at home that I started working with in October, has gotten to where -- tried to get me stronger and a little bit lighter to take pressure off that. I think my therapist that travels with me full-time, Laura, has done a great job in keeping my body healthy. Since we started working together at Wimbledon, I really have had no problems. My doctor at home has given me some good advice. But, you know, for whatever reason this year I decided to have a team of people work. Normally I don't have like the entourage. It's worked out so well and they've helped me out a lot, everybody in there. A lot of credit to a lot of people.
Q. How about you? How much credit are you going to take?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: A lot. A lot, too. I worked my ass off - excuse me (laughter).
Q. Did you say that?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No.
Q. How fit do you think Venus was? Do you think she just played with a little less emotional spark than when you've played her before?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, I don't know how fit she is. She's played a lot of tournaments this year. But just, you know, has been sidelined a few times. You know, I think it's hard to play with a lot of emotion when you're missing a lot of balls. I mean, there's not a lot you can do. I'm sure she would have wanted to if they were going in. I don't know what the case is. Maybe she knows the answer better, I don't know.
Q. Does it seem like she's having as much fun as maybe a couple years ago? Do you think she really wants to be out there?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't know. I mean, I think this year's been a little bit tougher for her than years past. She's not used to losing, certainly not used to being ranked 12 after playing since January. That's not normally her credentials. She appears to be struggling a little bit for confidence. You know, I watched her play Chanda the other night. At one point saw Chanda broke her something like four or five times in a row. So I knew that I was, you know, not dealing with someone on top of their game.
Q. Did you have fun today?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. Well, I mean, until like the end when I didn't win it on the first one (smiling). But, no, I feel good. I enjoyed the last few months playing. You know, when you're winning, it's hard not to.
Q. When you beat Steffi Graf at Wimbledon, you had a truly great serving performance. Are you a different server five years later - different tactically, physically?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: A little bit. You know, I've tried to develop both serves to the backhand a little bit more. I've always had a pretty good slider. This summer, as a big part also, I felt really good on my serve again. That's been a while since that's happened. So, you know, not getting broken is a pretty good stat the last two matches against some good returners. You know, I'll take that.
Q. How do you stay calm? You mentioned you stayed calm out there. How do you do it?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: There's a lot of thoughts going through. You know, it definitely helps that I've had a great summer. You know, just kept telling myself, "Hang in there," even when I double-faulted. "Oh, you shouldn't do that. Okay. Here we go." Just trying to get myself back in the match. You know, just trying to believe. We had one breakpoint, I think the last one she had, was a pretty long rally. When I won that, I felt a lot better. But still you never know what's going to happen.
Q. Do you have conversations inside your head on those points?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I mean, you tell yourself what to do. I mean, I was always taught by old coach Robert, if something like that happens, just pick one spot and keep thinking about where to hit the ball, you know, just concentrate on that. I still think about that and know when you go up to serve, wherever you want to serve. Just try to keep it as simple as possible.
Q. That obviously was a fabulous game. Can you think of the one or two best single games you've had?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No. I have no idea. It was a good game because it was dramatic. It wasn't a good game necessarily because the tennis was great. It was dramatic, I'll say that.
Q. You've had such a good rivalry with her that's obviously sort of gone in spurts. Is there any sort of mutual acknowledgment, any sort of kinship that you have as history?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't think so. I mean, I don't think I've lost to anyone else 12 times, and I don't think she's lost to anybody, I don't know what, maybe 13 times now. You know, we haven't talked about it much at all. But 25 times is a lot of times to play somebody.
Q. On the fourth match point.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: The one I won or no (laughter)?
Q. Short return, probably would have been a winning second shot against anybody, she smoked one cross-court. Did you think you had the game?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I didn't think that. You know, those are the points that are actually a little easier to accept, if she hits a screaming forehand. I just say, "Too good. Let's see you hit two more to win the game." She came up with a great shot, couldn't have hit it any better. I had no play. I don't think I even had time to stick my racquet out. You know, it's a shot that if she can come up with, then I'll go back and serve another point.
Q. Do you have time at that point to think, "Shoot, if I don't hold serve, she's getting into the match"?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It went through my mind one time, and it was still 5-All, which isn't the end of the world. Obviously you have match point, you want to end it there. At the end of the day, it was still going to be up a set and 5-All.
Q. Are those different thoughts than you might have had this time last year?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, probably. I think after maybe one or two match points, I would have, you know, maybe put my head down and missed a shot and it might have been over. You know, I tried to hang in there. Like I said, I didn't know what to expect, a winner or error. Luckily I was able to finally make a first serve on a match point.
Q. Were you trying to go to her forehand a lot?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. When I played her in Stanford, she was having a lot more trouble with it then than she was a few years ago. You know, she plays great and she's hitting her forehand well, she's going to be tough to beat. I don't know. Right now she hasn't shown the last few months that her forehand has been on. I want to try to pick on that. She came up with some good ones during the match. You know, overall I think I still won just by virtue of a lot of errors.
Q. Pete Sampras won this tournament, went out on top retiring. Not that you've made any decision firmly, but has the option crossed your mind, "I could win this tournament and walk away like Pete did"?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: That would be great if I was in that position. But, you know, I fully intend to keep playing this fall and finish the year anyways in Los Angeles and see from there. You know, it's an easy time of the year for me to play in the summer, when it's in the States, a lot in California, and here at The Open. My family's here. It's another thing when you're playing overseas and at different times of the year. But I plan to finish the year out and see what happens in November, December.
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