Davenport's interview: a true class act
2003 PILOT PEN TENNIS presented by MICHELOB ULTRA
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT
August 23, 2003
J. CAPRIATI/L. Davenport
6-2, 4-0 (ret.)
THE MODERATOR: First question for Lindsay, please.
Q. Tough way to go out today. How do you feel about the injury? Do you have any indication on how it's going to affect next week? Have you had it looked at yet? How do you feel about it?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, it's something that I've been dealing with for just about a year now, and something that since around April has been affecting me every day and getting worse as time goes on. It's just something that just needs to get removed at some point, and I'm just doing my best to try and delay it as long as possible. I'm on my way literally to go see the doctor at the US Open right now. So hopefully I'll be there around 5:00 or 5:30. We've discussed on the phone a number of possibilities, including some different types of injections you can do, stuff as well as that. So hopefully I'll know more tomorrow or Monday, I guess.
Q. In what way was it different than yesterday? When did you know it was worse than yesterday or all week?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, it's been bothering me all week. But, you know, today even when I woke up, it was just a little bit more sore. While I was getting it taped before the match, the symptoms were coming on just while she was taping. We were kind of like, "Well, that's funny. That hasn't happened before." Just kind of walking around, it was more sore. I mean, pretty much the first time I kind of push off that area, it gets inflamed. It just never went away today and was just very sore the whole time, landing when I served or trying to push off. You know, it was just there today. I think it's been about four or five weeks since I've had my last cortisone injection and I think that's probably worn off now. Maybe if I get another one, it will hold me up for another few weeks.
Q. It's a nerve problem between two of the toes?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yes. It's an inflamed nerve between some of the metatarsals in my left foot. It's just getting bigger and bigger every day, it feels like.
Q. You said you will eventually probably need surgery. Do you know what the prognosis is?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I definitely do need surgery. You know, at this rate, probably most likely will be after the US Open. It's relatively a simple operation. The recovery, I've heard anywhere I'd be back on the court playing a tournament from 8 to 12 weeks.
Q. Is there a non-surgical option?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I've done those. Everything I've done, the injections, accommodative orthotics, pads. Literally, I've exhausted every method possible. The doctors and the trainers have been wonderful that have worked with me. Sometimes over the course of -- you know, in the beginning, it was working great. But as time goes on, it just starts to wear off a little bit, all the non-surgical.
Q. Where does the pain today compare to anywhere along the way since you've had this?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, at the French it was pretty bad. That was before I had any injections or anything coming. It was bothering me quite a lot there. This week it's been pretty sore in practice and in some of the matches. And I think, again, it's just the time that the cortisone has worn off. Today was the worst. I think that's just the accumulation now of playing all these matches in a row for a few days, and at the same time trying to get ready for the US Open, just all that stuff. It's a little too inflamed right now. You know, I've got tomorrow off. Unfortunately, I do play Monday. So, you know, another option that was suggested is injecting it before every match with a numbing agent. I might, you know, try that, I guess.
Q. When you woke up this morning and you felt it, did you say, "Couldn't have waited three weeks"?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No, I mean, I've dealt with this for a few months, so I never know in the morning. Sometimes it's not as bad. You know, when I first got it diagnosed in May, they said, "You can treat it for a while, then eventually you need to get it removed with surgery." I was more disappointed then, like after being all through the knee operation. But everyone I've spoken to, all the doctors, say it's a relatively simple and easy procedure. I just have to be off my foot for about three to four weeks, then however long it takes you to get back into playing shape, you'll be ready to go.
Q. Are you sick of being runner-up here?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, that hasn't even crossed my mind today yet. I was really excited yesterday getting to the finals and thought I had a good opportunity. You know, sometimes you just can't go out there at your best. At this day and age, you need to be at a hundred percent to beat all these girls. So I was disappointed. I was disappointed for the fans that came out. I knew last night they had a retirement, as well. I was disappointed even for Jennifer. It's kind of a bad way to win a final. It takes a little bit away from her, which is not what I intended to do. It's just kind of a disappointment to end a tournament like this.
Q. Speaking of the fans, you took the microphone, apologized to the fans, they responded with a standing ovation. Did that get to you?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No, I was crying. I mean, you know, stuff like that, I feel very bad for the fans that are there. I mean, that was very sweet of them to respond the way that they did. Certainly wasn't expecting that. It was overwhelming. I mean, a lot of emotions going through my mind. They were very, very supportive of me.
Q. The way you spoke at the end, the emotion of it, does that mean you're going to come back?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It just changes. I mean, like I've said, people asked me at Wimbledon. I said, "I don't know how long I'm going to play." I was being totally honest. If I am playing tennis this time next year, I for sure will be at New Haven. No question about that. No, they were obviously very supportive and very great. I love playing here. It has no issue on that. You know, will it make me continue to play tennis? I don't know. It's certainly a great feeling, though.
Q. You have fans in every city. You say the right things in every city. To have that happen and to have them stand...
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It was very overwhelming. There's not many times I've cried on the court. You know, like I said, a lot of emotions, disappointment, but I was very touched they would still support me in that way even though I felt I let them down.
Q. When people talk about you, the first thing they say is your class, grace, the way you handle yourself. Talk about where that comes from? Is that from your family?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I have no idea. I mean, I've sometimes been criticized for being a good loser, that I haven't been tough enough. Sometimes you get applauded for it. You know, at the end of the day, you try your hardest and you do your best. If it doesn't work out, I mean, sure I get disappointed from losses, but I never take it out on my opponent or anybody else. But, no, I don't know where I get it. But I do think I handle myself pretty well - or I try to - when the match is over.
Q. Are you proud of that reputation, that people think highly of you?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: That is good. I don't know how many people think that. I'm happy that maybe you do (laughter).
Q. At what point in the match did you realize, "I can't go on anymore"?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Probably at the very end of the first set I knew I was in trouble. You know, you go back and forth in your mind so much: Do you stay out, stop? I had no idea. You know, more things go through your mind than you think, so I didn't really know what the appropriate thing to do was. But at the end, it was getting hard just to walk and cover half the court let alone the whole court.
Q. That Mauresmo pulled out last night, did that enter your mind?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I probably stayed out there two more games because of that . I don't know. It's just a disappointment. You know, it has nothing to do with me, obviously. But still you feel for the fans that always come out and support the tournament, who really wanted to see a lot of good tennis.
Q. Take it a step further. If you're aware of Amelie having to pull out because of injury, not wanting to do that, what about the US Open?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I've been aware of it all summer.
Q. In terms of now Venus has pulled out.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I know. I felt like that in some of the tournaments in California. "I should probably go because they don't have the greatest field." You know, the US Open is a little different because you want to play the Slams no matter what. The US Open means the absolute most to me of all of them. You know, they're asking me now. I said, "I'm for sure going to go out there Monday." I want to play the US Open more than anything. You know, as far as it's more wide open now because Serena and Venus pulled out, it probably doesn't affect me now until I see how my foot's doing, see if I'm still around in the latter part of the first week.
Q. If you're talking about surgery after The Open, you're talking about missing the rest of the season.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Probably, yeah. At some point I have to pull the plug and do it. You know, we'll know more right after the US Open. But, yeah, I mean, I'm going to probably have to cut the season short at some point through this fall.
Q. Did you ask to move up to a Tuesday? Is that a possibility?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: A couple years ago they made a firm rule that they do halves. There's no exceptions made. It was announced yesterday that the women's top half would be playing on Monday. I think to come back today probably wouldn't do much good. You know, people have tried in the past. They've just made a firm exception a few years ago to that.
Q. How much will it help that you will never have to play two days in a row?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: That's going to be my saving point. That's what I'm banking on. Hopefully no rain. But, you know, it's kind of funny, but a Grand Slam's almost easier on the body. For the women, we still play two out of three sets, and you have every other day off. It gives me a chance to maybe not practice that day, maybe not do anything, and still give my foot some rest before going back out there. It's much tougher in these tournaments where you're playing high-ranked players day after day.
Q. What about three sets?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: The longer it goes, the less beneficial it is for me (smiling).
It's long, but it is worth it! Hope Lindsay can play the US OPEN