THE MODERATOR: Questions for Lindsay, please.
Q. Looks like you had a quick start?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. Not a lot I can say. We had a few really close games in the beginning that I was able to come through, and seemed like as the match went on, she probably lost a little confidence. I felt like I was playing better and better.
And, you know, obviously happy to get a good win and feel like I played well and get it in before it rained and all of that.
Q. Is this tournament -- a little bit of a stretch, but is this tournament for you rough?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I always love playing here.
In some regards I feel sometimes more comfortable here than maybe some of the other tournaments closer to home. I remember coming here as a little -- you know, 10- and 11-year-old with friends watching when I was growing up, and it seems like a lot of people from where I live all make the trek out here and, you know, come here to support it.
So I feel like I have a lot of crowd support. And obviously it's always great to have your family and friends around, and it's the first tournament I took home a paycheck from back in 1993. And even though it was at the Hyatt, you know, this tournament has always meant a lot to me.
Q. Whom did you admire when you were a 10-year-old?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I used to come out here and watch the men (laughter). That was fun. I used to come out with, you know, Robert's daughter Stephanie was a good friend of mine. Her mom would take us out here a couple years in a row. I remember sitting at the old grand stand court. They used to have grass. We'd sit there and watch matches. Yeah, it was a lot of fun. I remember that.
Q. How much was the check you won in 1993?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think -- I lost in the quarter finals and I'm pretty sure it was $7500. I lost to -- I ended up losing to I think Mary Jo. I think she might have gone on to win it that year and, yeah, I'm pretty sure it was 7500.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, they had it broken up in weeks back then. We didn't play together. I don't know. I think Robert maybe was working with some of the male players or something when we went that week.
Q. Does that seem like a lifetime ago now, Lindsay?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. I mean a lot's obviously happened in 13 years, and, you know, to get like any kind of money when you're a junior in high school was pretty -- pretty spectacular. Now, I don't know. I just would throw it away (laughter). No, just kidding. No, I'm kidding.
But, yeah, it was different -- different person, different player in a different place, but still proud of who I was then.
Q. A lot of talk about another come-back kid out there, but, boy, you sure are a come-back kid yourself playing as strong as you did. How do you feel about that?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I feel great. I'm trying to do things maybe a little differently this year to try and prolong my career as long as I can and try and keep playing well when I play. And it's been great.
I mean, this is only my third tournament. We're in March. And physically, I'm just trying to stay healthy and at the same time trying to improve. That's the most important thing is if you feel good, you're obviously going to play better.
Q. What part of your game are you trying to improve?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think the level of consistency obviously always going to be going for bigger shots, pulling down the unforced errors, serve better, and more consistently. You know, women's tennis has gotten pretty of tough. It's not so easy to break the top girls' serves, so you've really got to try and hold onto your own serve. I've been trying to work on that.
Q. Did you say anything to --
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No, not necessarily. Maybe the first time it happens, but, you know, now I just try and get off the court as fast as I can. Because I've learned you never know what can happen with weather or injury or people coming back that -- you know, just try and win as best I can these days.
Q. Did you say anything to Ashley after you beat her so soundly today or how do you feel or did you say anything special to her?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No. No.
Q. How do you reconcile what the WTA expects of you as a top player in playing tournaments this year versus what you're going to be doing for your own health?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, it's a little bit of a conflicting interest there in both parties where obviously the players are expected to perform a certain amount and commit to playing a certain amount of tournaments. And, you know, after all these years that I've played and after how many years of trying to do that, I mean, I've just come to the conclusion that this year it's impossible.
And I am just going to really play a really limited amount, and, you know, hopefully, I'll have the support of our tour and CEO and won't get fined too heavily or punished in any form. But, you know, I feel like at this stage for me to play, I have to be a little bit more careful than I have been in the past.
Q. Do you think there's a growing number of players that are going to become advocates with you for a change in --
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, it's hard to speak for every player. I mean, I know from personal experience that, you know, 18 tournaments is a lot, when you're winning a lot of matches and when you're doing well. As I've gotten older and the body doesn't recover as fast it seems like way too many.
So you know we'll see what the magic number is this year. But it's a lot of tennis -- it doesn't necessarily sound like that much on paper, but when you count up how many matches the top four or five players actually play and win, it turns out to be a lot.
Q. What's your idea of limited schedule?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, for me I'm going to play here and Miami, and probably play one clay court event before Paris, play Wimbledon and probably just this year maybe play two in the summer before the US Open, not three or four. And, you know, then -- I haven't even thought about the fall, but, you know, it just gets -- it gets to be too much to play a bunch in a row and, you know, trying to recover.
Q. Do you think that in one sense the age eligibility rule could work in reverse where you got to a certain age or you played so many years on the tour that there should be some sort of compensation for that?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I -- they used to -- if you had played 12 years they used to take off one tournament from your commitment, then I found out they did away with that. And I was like oh, God. But I mean, it's unrealistic to expect -- personally, and whether it sounds young that I'm 29 now going to turn 30, to hear that, you know, at 15 I played 12 events, and, you know, here I am now still trying to do the same. It's a lot and for a player that's played so many matches like I have over my career and had a lot of injuries, it's just -- it's not realistic.
So however they want to spin it is really up to them. I mean, I've been pretty honest with exactly what I'm going to do and, you know, hopefully they'll go with it.
Q. Talk about Martina Hingis for a second. A couple matches away if all goes well. I remember you being perplexed, not quite certain what was going on when she first left the tour. She also famously turned to you after a tournament and said, "I can't beat you." You know, it started out that whole thing rolling. Now she's back and in a way seems to be more confident or at least more at peace with herself than when she left. I'm wondering if you've talked with her, what your sense of where she is with tennis and life now?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I mean, I've talked to her, but nothing in depth or anything. But, yeah, I was definitely I think outspoken maybe in my disappointment that she walked away. I felt like she really was way too good to do that and could have accomplished so much more at that time. She had had a few injuries, and I think that that was wearing on her mentally. I don't think she was - this is all my opinion - being able to prepare as much as she needed to to keep up with everybody else and it was too tough with her injuries.
But I think it's great she came back. She's still very young. She's obviously very good. And she's still able to play the same way against players that have supposedly gone up a level in the last three years. You know, it's not easy to leave the game for three years and kind of come back to a very high level, maybe not as high as she was at some point, but I think the more she plays the better and better she's going to get.
Q. A lot was made at the time that she couldn't compete with the new generation of people coming in, you being grouped in that new generation, but the heavier hitters?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Right.
Q. The people who were going to out-power her, looking back, and even for you at the time, could it have been more mental than physical?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I think for Martina to win, she thought quite a lot. She was very mentally strong, she worked very hard, and a lot of times, that can wear you down. You know, she didn't have maybe the big game to, you know, hit a few winners, hit a few aces, and get off the court. I mean she always -- even though she would win matches easily and she would still have to work out there, and I think maybe it just wore on her a little bit.
But she could probably tell you better than I can, but I was very happy to see her come back and have her come back at a very good level.
Q. Have you seen her play yet?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Parts, not probably enough. But, you know, I saw her play a little bit against Kim, but I only saw the end in Australia. I think I turned it on at 3-2 or 4-2 in the third, so I just saw a little bit there. But I saw her play just a little bit in Dubai, again. But at the end of a match against Maria. But from the points I've seen, she seems to be still, you know, inside the base line and taking balls early and changing directions and, you know, getting a lot of balls back.
Q. If she was bothered by big hitters, then why would that be any different today? Did she have to change her game?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't think she necessarily has to change her game. I think that if she feels fresh mentally and feels eager and excited to play, a lot of times that can make up for a lot of difficulties you feel like you have against players.
Q. Are you anxious about...
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Anxious is probably a strong word. I think it would be interesting after all these years to play her. Always have enjoyed competing against her. We've always gotten along off and on the court, and had a very healthy -- rivalry might even be strong, but very healthy, competitive relationship over the years and, like I said, I'm happy to see her back playing.
Q. There seemed to be a moment in time when it -- just for a moment, it looked like the two of you were going to have a rivalry that was going to go four, five, six years. It seemed like you were the older one, obviously. You're five years, four or five years older and you always seemed on the verge of maybe moving on with the rest of your life much more than Martina. Is it interesting to look back and say, I haven't gone anywhere. I've been in the top five the whole time, the top three this whole time, and she's the one that left and came back?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No. I mean, I'm not aware of her journey and everything that she's particularly gone through. I mean, I can be proud of myself and happy with what I've been able to do consistencywise, but, you know, she's -- she's just as deserving. I mean she's a great player.
Q. She had to do what she had to do?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Exactly.
Q. I know you played earlier today, but how does the rain affect your game if you have to stop in between a match?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, it's fantastic when you're done. You're watching everyone else in the locker room sweat it out. But it's very tough when rain I think interrupts play. It definitely -- a lot of times it can change the momentum, players get stiff, you're always unsure of when it will exactly stop, and I think certain players are personally unprepared for it at certain venues. You know at Wimbledon you're always looking up, like, okay, one more game.
I don't think anyone would have expected a long rain delay here in the desert. Typically it doesn't happen here, so I'm surprised that it's raining and continuing to rain for this many hours like they've told us.
But, you know, sometimes you get lucky and beat the rain. I'm happy about that.
Q. A lot of people have been mindful of how you handled the Sharapova here last year while you were in the process of shutting out your opponent. Did it occur to you, my God people are going to say I'm merciless?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: People are going to say what they want anyway, but, you know, I think that like I said, I mean I've learned a lot over the years and, you know, it's a tennis match. It doesn't really have any affect later at night exactly what the score was or anything. You know, we're all out here to win. It's all fair game.
THE MODERATOR: Last question.
Q. It's a youthful sport, but you talked to us in the past, a number of new faces. I'm wondering what your thoughts are on what's contributing to this hundreds of teens talking about it?
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I mean, I've always thought that people come in kind of in groups, and it always helps when players that you compete against maybe in the juniors that are friends with and you see them make it, it probably gives you some more confidence as well. But I mean, there's been a ton of girls coming up in the last three years that are all very young that are all very good, and I don't know exactly the reason why.
We, obviously, you know, unfortunately don't have that problem here in the United States. It seems like they're doing that more so in Europe, developing these great players. But I don't know what it is, but I think that the group that we have coming up are very good and I think they're going to be around for a while.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Thanks.
Playing a clay court tournament before French!!! Interesting.....