Take It From Mom
Coming Back A Challenge
August 6, 2007
Three-time Grand Slam champion Lindsay Davenport, 31, has been away from professional tennis for nearly a year. Her son, Jagger, born in June, helped see to that. But the former No. 1 player in the world and holder of 51 WTA Tour singles titles has decided to make a comeback. It starts in the doubles draw of the Pilot Pen tournament in New Haven Aug. 19-25. Along the comeback trail she'll periodically share her thoughts in The Courant.
One year ago I was coming back from injury and the Pilot Pen was one of the first tournaments I played in. I made it to the finals, but had to pull out due to an injury. It was disappointing but at the same time rewarding to know that I could still compete with the best players in tennis. I continued on the comeback trail at the U.S. Open, and played a few other tournaments. I was looking forward to another great year in 2007, but later that fall I became pregnant. I believed my career was over.
I was grateful that the thing that ended my career was pregnancy and not a terrible accident or injury. I had an amazing career and was completely at peace with moving on to this new part of my life. I had dreamed about having kids someday, and was filled with anticipation about the new life that was about to come into my world.
Throughout my pregnancy, I barely picked up a racket. I hit four or five times with my husband, Jon, and it was really just for some exercise and to have fun. Those who have been pregnant know how tiring it can be to simply get up and move around, so tennis wasn't exactly at the forefront of my mind.
Then in April my husband and I had a casual conversation about tennis, and he asked if I ever thought about coming back after the pregnancy. It hadn't really crossed my mind, but the more I thought about it, I liked the idea of making a comeback as a mom. It seemed like a unique challenge, but I still needed to deliver the baby and see how it affected me and my life.
My beautiful son Jagger was born on June 10. It was the happiest day of my life. As a child I dreamed about winning the U.S. Open and Wimbledon. When I achieved those goals the amount of emotion that washed over me was incredible. It took weeks for me to really comprehend what I had done, and what it meant to me.
Having a son took that exact feeling to another level. I had always wanted a son (I think partially because I never had any brothers), and so to see his face and hold him close was as indescribable a feeling as I have ever had. Parents know exactly what I am writing about. There aren't words that do justice to the love I feel.
A few weeks after he was born, my doctor gave me clearance to step back on the tennis court. I had a Caesarean section, so I was still very sore, but my husband and I just played a little mini-tennis (think standing on the service line). It felt good to be moving around, but I knew I would have to take it slow and be careful that I didn't hurt anything. Gradually, I started to get some strength back and felt more comfortable on the court.
Still, my training wasn't anything like what I was used to. I used to run off to practice whenever and have intense workouts for hours. Now I was scheduling hits in between feedings, and even bringing my son and husband to the courts with me. It was a different life, one where going out to dinner was virtually impossible, but one that had me smiling all the time.
I decided that playing World Team Tennis would be an easy step back into the ring of professional tennis, but I always had it in my mind that I would like to return to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. My good friend Lisa Raymond asked me if I thought about coming back at all. I told her I was, and she asked me if I would play doubles with her at the Pilot Pen, as her usual partner wouldn't be able to. I decided to go for it.
I have always loved coming to New Haven. I typically have only played in cities and at tournaments that I truly enjoy, and the Pilot Pen is one of them. This will be my eighth visit, and I have always liked the intimate feel of the town, especially the dining and shopping and the terrific fans. It made sense to me that this comfortable place would be a great setting for my return.
The next few weeks will be interesting, both watching my son do new things - he rolled over just a couple of weeks ago! - and preparing to get back on the tour. I am sure when I step on Stadium Court at the Pilot Pen, chills will run down my spine. I hope to see you there, because I can't wait!
Talk to you soon, Lindsay
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