Davenport Isn't Looking Out for No. 1
that's the full article/interview that many of us have read the abstracts on general messages where lindsay talks about n.1 ranking and other stuff.
Diane Pucin-LA Times
Davenport Isn't Looking Out for No. 1<br /> <br />Lindsay Davenport is the No. 1 female tennis player in the world, which makes her laugh.
"I don't feel No. 1," Davenport says. "Venus [Williams] is the best. I think you have to say that the way she won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open makes her No. 1."
There are many good things about Lindsay Davenport. Honesty is one of them.
The WTA ranking system is out of whack. Davenport says this too. She won seven tournaments this year, more than anybody else. She had a 62-9 record. Respectable numbers, outstanding even. But Davenport didn't make it to a Grand Slam final.
"I know the WTA wants people to believe all the tournaments matter," Davenport says, "but for the players and the fans, it's all about the Grand Slams. Would I trade my year of being No. 1 for winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, like Venus did? Oh yeah, of course I would."
Over the course of an hour, Davenport talks about Martina Hingis: "It's going to be hard for Martina to win Slams anymore." And Jennifer Capriati: "I think I hurt her feelings when I say Venus should be No. 1 but, come on. Venus played, like, 12 tournaments. Jennifer and I played 17, and we're still just barely ahead of her in the rankings."
Davenport is sitting in the living room of the Laguna Beach home she shares with Jon Leach, an investment banker, brother of touring doubles specialist Rick Leach and son of longtime USC tennis coach Dick Leach.
Her relationship with Leach is going on two years now, and it is important to Davenport. They have a bold Rottweiler, Zoltan, and a house that is home. The living room faces the Pacific Ocean and there are 5,000 square feet. But the rooms are filled with family photos and tennis rackets, not fancy furniture or ostentatious art. When Davenport's 4-year-old niece comes to visit, she has her own room, decorated with scenes from the beach and a portrait of the dog.
It is the home of a regular person, which is something else good about Davenport. She is, of all the top female tennis players, the one you would want as a friend. She readily shares her thoughts, her emotions.
Sometimes, when she is playing badly, she grumbles to herself, screws her face into a scowl, slumps her shoulders and generally looks like a petulant teenager whose phone privileges have just been revoked.
Now, past mid-December, Davenport is getting restless. She had to pull out of her final match of 2001, the championship match of the WTA Tour Championships in Munich against Serena Williams.
Her left knee couldn't take one more moment of play. The knee is hyperextended and bone is rubbing on bone. She very much wanted to play Serena and was feeling a little guilty about her No. 1 ranking.
"I mean, come on, I didn't win a Slam. It wasn't the greatest year," she says. "So I would have liked to have won that match. My ranking would have seemed a little more legitimate."
But the knee said no and Davenport wishes the length of the season could be reduced.
"Honestly, I don't think anybody pays attention to tennis after the U.S. Open," Davenport says. "Not with the men and not with us. I don't think anybody in the U.S. even knows we're playing after the Open. At least when the Tour Championships were at Madison Square Garden, we got a little attention.
"But with the season going from January to November, when do you sit down and heal?"
Davenport was playing Hingis when Hingis tore ligaments in her ankle in October.
"The way she screamed, I've just never actually been on the court when somebody got hurt like that," she says. "Martina played so many tournaments trying to be No. 1, and I think her body couldn't take it.
"Actually, I kind of admire that about Venus and Serena. They don't feel any responsibility to play except when they want to and when they are totally healthy. If I'm entered in an event, I always feel like I have to play, even if I don't feel physically ready for it."
Davenport, 25, will be starting her 10th year as a touring pro. She wants to have a baby by the time she is 30. By her calculations, this gives her two, maybe three more years of professional tennis.
"I don't want to get married until I'm done with tennis," she says. "But I also found out last spring, when I had to miss the clay-court season with my injuries, how much I missed playing. I want to win more Slams [she has won once each at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open]. Being No. 1 is nice, but it's more Slams that I want."
Her elevation to No. 1 now came as a shock to Davenport. She went to Europe for the fall season and surprised herself by winning consecutive tournaments in Filderstadt, Germany, and Zurich. Her plan had been to take a week off. "But I was playing well," Davenport says, "so I told my coach [Robert Van't Hof] that maybe I'd just go ahead and enter Linz [Austria]. When I got to Linz somebody said, 'So you're playing here so you can get to No. 1?' I was like, 'Huh?' I hadn't even paid attention."
It was because Capriati didn't win a tournament after the French Open and because Venus Williams shut down her season after the Sept. 11 tragedies that Davenport was able to reach No. 1.
"If Venus played even close to a full schedule, I don't see right now how anybody else could be No. 1," Davenport says. "Over the last couple of years, her game has improved so much. Everything is better. It's pretty amazing. I've never seen anyone improve so much."
Hingis, who lost her No. 1 ranking in the fall after 209 weeks over the last 41/2years, also failed to win a Grand Slam title in 2001.
"And it's going to be hard for Martina to do it again," Davenport says. "It's hard for her to beat all of us during the Slams."
By "all," Davenport means the big, strong Americans--the Williams sisters, Capriati, Davenport, Monica Seles. As to whether anybody can stop Venus, except Venus, Davenport just smiles.
"We'll see," she says. "But I wouldn't want to predict."