SWEET LINDSAY - ACE Magazine, October 2001
There’s a lot more to Big Lindsay than meets the eye. The one adjective invariably used to describe Lindsay Davenport is ‘sweet’. Davenport is many things: down to earth, funny, polished, intelligent, unfailingly honest. She remembers the names of the security guards at her Laguna Beach compound and always says ‘Hi’. She writes thank-you notes to tournament directors, is punctual, proof reads her email for spelling errors and hates riding in limos. At tournaments she’d rather find a local greasy spoon than go out to the trendy, see-and-be-scene restaurants. But sweet? No.
‘Sweet’ wouldn’t compartmentalise pressure and coolly serve out for Grand Slam titles with the world watching. She wouldn’t call Kournikova, the hottest commodity in tennis, ‘A total circus act.’ She wouldn’t toss off enough creative variations of the F-word to make a builder blush. Nor would she sport a tattoo of the Olympic rings on her … um, lower back.
Sweet? Davenport didn’t even give her father, Wink a chance to become one of those domineering tennis dads. As a kid, she cringed when she watched her father get worked up at one of her sisters’ volleyball games. A week later, at one of her junior tournaments, Wink groaned aloud and shook his head when his daughter then 10 or 11 made a sloppy error. Lindsay stopped her match, calmly walked to the fence, and summoned her father. When he leaned over, she said, “Dad, if you do that one more time, you’ll never get to come and watch me again.”
“People who think I’m nice would be surprised to know what goes through my head on court”, she laughs. “I’m a total bitch out there. I get so p****d. Even when I am playing a friend and she hits a winner. I’m like, ‘Who the hell do you think you are? That’s how I think I can’t help it. If you look at my face, I look the meanest girl out there.”
And its not just tennis. She admits that she had to stop playing board games with friends long ago because she was insanely competitive. She and her coach rarely play points in practice because they invariably end in a dispute. To cut Davenport off in traffic is to put your life at risk. While some were shocked at the story that Lindsay once kicked Alexandra Stevenson’s bag across the locker room, Davenport’s friends nod knowingly. “That totally sounds like Lindsay,” says Rennae Stubbs. “She’s great but she doesn’t stand for any s**t.”
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