Lindsay interview from IW: Even she complains of lack of tennis coverage in US
BRINGING THE BEST: Six of the top 10 women's players are absent from the Pacific Life Open, again bring into focus how the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour does not make it mandatory for the top 50 players to play in the top events.
The Pacific Life Open is a Tier I event, and is the third richest on the tour with $2.1 million in prize money.
The top-level tournaments on the ATP Tour, the Masters Series, are mandatory for the top-50 players, or they will suffer fines and loss of ranking points.
Elena Dementieva and Lindsay Davenport said they would welcome following the ATP's model.
"I think it may be a good idea. We have to support this tournament," Dementieva said. "It's one of the biggest tournaments on the tour and we're missing some top players. I think it would be a good idea."
"I think that's definitely a step in the right direction," Davenport said. "It has to be something that sets the Tier I apart from the other tournaments, where players don't feel like it's OK to play Tier II instead of such a big event like this. I think they're slowly starting to adopt the same philosophy the men have since Miami is mandatory."
However, Davenport admits that she usually passes on the NASDAQ 100 Open in Miami because it is right after the Pacific Life Open. Davenport and Dementieva suspect some of the top players passed on Indian Wells because it's so close to Miami, which offers $3.45 million in prize money.
Attendance: The first day of the Pacific Life Open's main draw drew 12,327 fans, the highest for the opening day of the tournament since it started on Wednesdays in 2001, according to assistant tournament director Dee Dee Felich. The previous record was set last year, when 10,720 attended opening day.
Finding gold: Tennis great Bjorn Borg is auctioning off many of his Grand Slam trophies and Davenport was asked if she would ever do the same thing.
"I'm not attached to them, but it's an extremely personal thing," Davenport said. "It's a shame that he's in a position where he feels he has to sell them. I wouldn't part with them, but I don't necessarily sleep with them or look at them often. I would imagine if it was my children or grand children, it would be a nice heirloom in the family."
Davenport's father played in the 1968 Olympics and she has his sweat suit. She said she would like to do the same with some of her trophies.
Asked her favorite award, Davenport said it is her gold medal from the 1996 Olympics. Davenport had an adventure with her medal and her mother.
"My mom had lost my gold medal for a few years. I was upset with her," Davenport said. "Finally my husband lost it with her and told her to find it. She finally unpacked some boxes and was so relieved when she found it."
Network coverage: An example of how much more popular tennis is in other countries than in the U.S. can be seen in Australia.
"If you go to Australia, the Australian Open is on all day long on network TV," Davenport said. "There's no way CBS, NBC and ABC would do that. They only show the finals. That's always been the case. They don't want to give the time to the biggest tournament we have in the United States. Any other country, it's everywhere - front page of the main paper, front page of the sports section. We haven't had that here."
But I, being poor, have only my dreams
I have spread my dreams under your feet
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams