Davenport: Back, With New Goals
August 17, 2007
The Pilot Pen is here, and I can't believe that my first professional tournament in about 11 months is now.
Tennis has always been a big part of my life. Since I was a little kid, the one constant activity in my life has been tennis. This last layoff was a long time to be away from the court, but I didn't look at it that way because I didn't think I was coming back. But now that I am, I can't wait.
The road back has not been easy, but it also was not as difficult as I anticipated.
I used to work my body to exhaustion and hit balls for hours on end, but now I have dialed things back a little bit. I don't want to jeopardize my health just to get on a tennis court, so I have taken things slowly while still working to get back into pre-pregnancy shape. I am definitely sore in different places than I ever have been, but there hasn't been any pain, so I feel good about my progress.
Am I where I want to be physically? No. That will take time, and is something that I am shooting for later this year and really before the Australian Open next year.
Is my game where I want it to be? No. My stamina is close to what it once was, but my reaction time is still lacking. I feel that I am hitting the ball well, and mentally I feel as prepared as ever, but there are moments where I feel that the ball is suddenly on top of me, when I used to anticipate things better.
I see all of my training and playing as part of a new journey. I am looking at things with a long-term focus while setting short-term goals. I can't have the same expectations I once had, because I am working with a different schedule than I ever have had before - and this isn't a bad thing.
Will I measure my success by whether or not I am ever No.1 in the world again? That isn't going to happen. Success will be achieved by my own standards.
I consider playing World Team Tennis six weeks after the birth of my son, playing doubles at the Pilot Pen and playing singles at Bali all great achievements and something I am proud of. I still want to compete at the highest level, but to say that I want to win another Grand Slam at this time isn't a reasonable thing to do.
In the end, people will analyze (and already have) if I should have come back, or if it was worth it, but the reality is that I am ecstatic to be playing professional tennis again.
I'll be in New Haven soon with my husband and son, and it will be great to be "on the road" as a family. I am looking forward to having a new experience, but am happy to be doing it in a familiar place. This will be my eighth trip to New Haven, and I am excited to be back. I hope you get a chance to come down to the Pilot Pen.