Here is a new Lindsay article from the LA times its dated the 26th Jan. Its a bit long winded but well worth reading. Hope you all enjoy reading it.
Davenport's Melbourne identity
January 26, 2007
We had lunch the other day with a very tall housewife. A television set in the background was showing highlights from the Australian Open tennis tournament, but she barely glanced at it.
Lindsay Davenport could take it or leave it. Matter of fact, she has left it.
Seven years ago, she won in Melbourne, the last of her three major titles. She was 23 then, and the expectation was for many more.
It's not that her career fell apart. Far from it. She finished the seasons of 2001, 2004 and 2005 ranked No. 1 in the world, as she had in 1998, and made it to two more Grand Slam finals and six more semifinals.
She won Olympic gold in Atlanta in 1996, and had she won a French Open, to go with her U.S. Open in '98 and Wimbledon in '99, she would have become only the third tennis player, after Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi, to win all four majors and an Olympic gold medal.
But late last year, she announced that she was retiring, at 30. And she did so with a smile so big that there was no questioning the decision.
Nor the reason.
The firstborn of Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Leach is scheduled for arrival in early June. They don't know the gender. Didn't ask.
"It was tempting," she says, "but in the end, we wanted it to be a surprise."
She will not return to tennis after having the baby.
"No chance," she says, adding, with a half-smile, half-grimace, that husband Jon, whom she married April 25, 2003, is talking about four kids.
All this makes tennis a memory, although certainly not a distant one. She says the Australian is especially hard to miss because it is the most relaxed, friendly major of the year.
And she says she will be following with interest the final between Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams.
"Great players, great competitors," she says.
She should know.
Sharapova is only 19, so she and Davenport played only five times, Sharapova winning four of them, including a three-setter in the 2004 Wimbledon semifinals.
But the one Davenport did win is memorable on two counts: It was at Indian Wells, a semifinal in 2005, and the score was 6-0, 6-0.
In high school, Davenport's nickname was "Double Bagel," the tennis term for a 6-0, 6-0 whitewash. But Davenport's friends and teammates gave her that not so much because she was better than everybody else and usually could win all 12 games easily, but because she tried so hard to find ways to let opponents win at least one game so they wouldn't feel bad.
Her struggles with the Williams sisters, more recently Serena, were of a different nature. Serena won 11 of their 15 matches. In their first meeting, at Chicago in 1997, Serena following her sister, Venus, just starting on the tour and ranked 304th took Davenport to 6-4, 6-4 before losing.
Davenport beat Serena in the 2000 U.S. Open quarterfinals, won the 2004 L.A. event at Carson by beating Serena in the final, then won a first-round match the same year in the tour championships.
The rest of the time, including three times deep into the U.S. Open, Williams prevailed.
Davenport remembers most vividly her 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 loss to Serena in the 2005 Australian final.
"I've often thought," Davenport says, "that's the one that got away."
Seeded No. 1, she played Australian favorite Alicia Molik in the quarterfinals. Molik was seeded 10th and was supported loudly and affectionately, on a searing summer day, by the home crowd. Davenport escaped with a 9-7 win in the third set.
"I was exhausted," she says.
Next up in the semifinals was French veteran Nathalie Dechy, making her deepest advance in a major to that point. Davenport escaped in three sets.
"I remember coming into the locker room, and Jon was there, knowing I had to go back out in a couple of hours to play doubles," Davenport says. "Jon said there's no way I should play doubles. Of course he was right, but I also knew there was no way I was going to let Corina down."
Corina Morariu had been Davenport's doubles partner for much of their careers. They won the 1999 Wimbledon title. In 2001, Morariu was diagnosed with a form of leukemia, and her career had been a long fight back to this Australian semifinal.
It is Davenport's nature to put others first. This time was no exception.
She and Morariu won their doubles semifinal, but it took three more exhausting sets. The schedule had also worked so that she played the second women's semifinal, further reducing her rest time.
In her final against Serena, she won the first set and got to 3-3 in the second, then dropped nine consecutive games.
"I remember hitting the wall," she says. "I'm not sure how I even finished, and then I remember afterward, really not feeling that bad about losing because I knew how much I had gone through. Then, one of the first questions asked me in the news conference is if I thought maybe I should have been in better shape."
Davenport and Morariu also lost the doubles final.
Despite a controversial moment here and there, Davenport includes the Williams sisters in her mental scrapbook of good times and good memories.
"There was the one time, when I was playing Venus," she says, laughing, "when I hear this voice saying, 'Davenport, you can't play in Venus' world.' It was Richard."
Richard Williams could not stand up for his daughters at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics in 2000, though. The U.S. women's tennis team consisted of Davenport, Venus Williams and Monica Seles, the tournament's top three seeded players in that order, and Serena Williams, who would play doubles with her sister.
"We marched out, then kind of ended up in the middle of the field," Davenport recalls, "and before we knew it, athletes from all the African nations were coming toward us, trying to touch Venus and Serena, pulling at their clothes.
"We tried to kind of make a protective circle around them at first, and I remember [U.S. men's player] Todd Martin coming over to try and help. But after a while, we were all just overwhelmed. It got fairly scary. They all wanted to be near Venus and Serena."
Davenport's affection for the Australian Open isn't only about playing, but also about timing.
Hours after she'd won in 2000, and finished all her press commitments, she returned to her hotel, turned on the TV set and realized that her Laguna Beach neighbor, Rick Leach, was still back there, playing. And eventually, with South African Ellis Ferreira, winning the title in one of the longest men's doubles matches in the event's history.
Several weeks later, back home, she was invited to a victory party for him. She could just walk down the street, so she did.
Once there, she spent some time talking to Rick's younger brother, Jon, who had been a top college player for his father, Dick, at USC, and who had taken an abbreviated run at the pros before deciding it was not for him.
"I knew Jon a little, but I knew Rick better," Davenport says. "I did have one memory of Jon. I had gone to Ojai four or five years before that. I was already a pro and it was some sponsorship thing.
"I ended up watching Jon play a match. And pretty soon, he is getting warnings from the umpire for bad behavior and finally, he says to the umpire, 'What would you do if I did this?' And he took his racket and broke it over his leg.
"Of course, they defaulted him and I kind of laughed. Had somebody told me then that this would be my husband, the father of my children, I would have told them they were crazy."
Jon Leach is an investment banker now, a calmed-down version of that young tennis player.
"But he is still pretty feisty," Davenport says. "I think I might be in trouble with this first child."
Davenport says that Jon chased her down on the way out of his brother's victory party that night.
"He asked me some silly question," she says.
And soon, he was at her matches, watching, and outside the locker room, waiting. They had their first date in March 2000, at Indian Wells. They were to meet at a restaurant, and when Davenport arrived, Leach was there with another woman.
"The next day," she says, "there were five apology phone messages from him. It was an old girlfriend who had just happened to show up.
"Then, when I won that year, there were flowers."
And, three years later, a wedding in Hawaii.
"One disappointment about no longer playing tennis," Davenport says, "is the Wimbledon final I didn't win [2 hours 45 minutes, three sets, one match point lost, to Venus Williams in 2005]. I would have liked to have done that with Jon as my husband, to give him that."
The consolation prize arriving in June won't be bad. Gender remains unknown, but expect a feisty child.
Also, a genuinely nice one. And probably tall.
Bill Dwyre can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read previous columns by Dwyre, go to latimes.com/dwyre.
Lindsay Davenport's career prize money total of $21,763,653 is second only to Steffi Graf's:
Year turned pro:
Grand Slam titles:
(1998 U.S. Open, 1999 Wimbledon, 2000 Australian Open).
Gold medal, 1996
Year-end world No. 1:
2005, 2004, 2001, 1998.
Source: Los Angeles Times