Steffi probably really did treat it as a "normal match' -- because if it were "personal," the score would have been 6-(-1), 6-(-1). As in negative one.
Davenport moving up, having fun
Thursday, February 24, 1994
INDIAN WELLS - On Monday, Tracy Austin was talking about how a little success leads to heightened expectations and keeps a player motivated to improve.
So meet Lindsay Davenport, 17, a senior at Murrieta Valley High School.
Last year at this time, during her first tournament as a professional, Davenport was ranked 99th and talking about wanting to be in the top 50 by year's end.
"I didn't really know what to expect," Davenport said. "But once I turned pro, it was really like a new commitment and I worked a lot harder. I just kind of played, as an amateur, and didn't really give it a full effort. Once I turned pro, I did."
That effort began paying off on March 8, when Davenport was ranked 48th after advancing to the Evert Cup quarterfinals and beating Gabriela Sabatini at Delray Beach, Fla. Then she began talking about making the top 20.
That goal was reached on Sept. 13, when Davenport was ranked 20th for the first of three times before the season was over.
Yesterday, after a 6-4, 6-1 victory over 24th-ranked Natalia Medvedeva in a first-round match on stadium court at the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort, Davenport said her sights now are set on the top 10.
"I think that's reachable," Davenport said.
So far that's the biggest understatement of the week, since she opened play here seeded third and ranked 13th in the world.
The two players seeded above her, top-ranked Steffi Graf and seventh-ranked Mary Joe Fernandez, both won yesterday.
Fernandez, the defending Evert Cup champion, completed the first round with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Angelica Gavaldon, then Graf roared into the quarterfinals with a 43-minute, 6-0, 6-0 thrashing of Austin.
Fourth-seeded Natalia Zvereva, Ginger Helgson and Iva Majoli joined Graf in the quarters, and they will take today off while those in the bottom half of the bracket catch up.
That includes Davenport, who will meet Elna Reinach of South Africa. They are two of the tallest players on the WTA Tour, Davenport at 6-foot-2 and Reinach at 5-111/2, but the similarity ends there. Reinach is ranked 86th and Davenport is one of the game's rising stars.
She's also having fun, which she believes has been one of the major factors in her success.
"Tennis is a part of my life, it's not 100 percent of my life," said Davenport, who has arranged her spring schedule so she'll be able to attend her senior prom and graduation (three days before Wimbledon begins).
"There's certain things that I'm not going to miss out on. My parents know that, and the coaches. Everybody knows that who's involved with me and they think it's great.
"School is a big part (of her life). I have a lot of fun. If I just played tennis and went home, I don't know how well I'd do. This way I have a really good balance.
"I don't take it (tennis) that seriously. I like to have fun with it. We try to make all my practices fun - intense but fun.
"I'm pretty serious on the court and when I work I work hard and I think it's good to have both of those (elements). I'm able to practice hard, but still enjoy it."
Davenport won her first title at Lucerne last May 23, beating Nicole Provis in a three-set final, and put together a 38-16 record in singles.
She opened this season with her second title, at Brisbane, Australia, then lost in the quarterfinals of both the Australian Open and Virginia Slims of Chicago, and is 11-2 today.
"I've just played really consistent and well the whole year and it's real exciting, and I keep looking forward to going to the next tournament," Davenport said.
Austin, who lost in doubles on Tuesday, can head for her next tournament now. But contrary to appearances, she said she enjoyed her match against Graf.
It was their first meeting since October, 1982, when Austin spoiled then 13-year-old Graf's first professional tournament by beating her, 6-4, 6-0.
On Monday, Austin said she remembered that Graf displayed enormous potential and obviously was going to be an outstanding player. On Tuesday, Graf said what she remembered was Austin saying there were hundreds of players in America like her.
Yesterday, both said those memories were not a factor in the match.
Graf said she regretted saying anything and treated the confrontation "as a normal match," and Austin said she felt Graf had taken her comments 12 years ago out of context.
"She played awesome," Austin said after winning just 21 points from Graf yesterday. "She's obviously just a level above everybody else on the tour. A definite level above everybody else.
"I can't describe how good she is right now."
NOTES - Tournament director Charlie Pasarell said he was misunderstood while explaining why there is a $5 charge for parking this year. It was reported that it cost $85,000 to rent the land from the City of Indian Wells. There is no rental fee. The $85,000 is the cost of maintaining the parking area and providing personnel for it. Pasarell said there also is a weekly parking pass available for $30. . . . Something else new has been added for next week's Champions Cup men's tournament - night matches. There will be two matches - usually a singles and a doubles - beginning at 6:30 each evening, in addition to the usual daily schedule.