View Full Version : Ann Davenport, a laid-back parent

Sep 14th, 2007, 11:00 PM

Ann Davenport, a laid-back parent

Bruce Emond, The Jakarta Post, Nusa Dua, Bali

As Eleni Daniilidou waited to go on court at the Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic, a tall woman approached her and chatted for a few moments.

The woman was Ann Davenport, the mother of the Greek player's first-round opponent, former world number one Lindsay Davenport. It was not a deliberately self-serving gesture for the benefit of onlookers, for she did not know that a journalist was looking on Tuesday evening.

"Eleni is just a really nice girl, and I saw some of her play at the U.S. Open and I told her I liked it. That's just the way I am," she said.

Ann, who is in her mid-60s but has a lean frame that attests to many years spent playing volleyball, is friendly and polite, a regular Californian grandmother whose daughter just happens to be one of the world's greatest tennis players.

She is definitely not a member of the tennis parents' rogue hall of fame. Forget about the ever-present NUF (Number One Fan); she only occasionally attends tournaments, mostly in the United States.

Unlike some mentor-cum-tormentor tennis parents, she has her own job -- assisting teenagers to secure university volleyball scholarships. Lindsay told Sports Illustrated in 1999 that their relationship was like "... sisters [because] we have so much fun together".

Ann Davenport came to Bali to help care for 3-month-old grandson Jagger (there also is a nanny on hand). The trip has given her a little taste of a tennis pro's life, from enjoying the Grand Hyatt Bali resort to occasional hassles. She had to go into Denpasar to find sports clothes to fit her 1.89 meter daughter after her bag was lost.

Ann and her former husband Wink were excellent volleyball players, as were their two older daughters. The story goes that they put young Lindsay into an afternoon tennis clinic to keep her occupied. She became a good junior player, but good tennis players are common in sunny California.

Education is important to the family, Ann said, and the plan was for her daughter to continue on to study at university like her sisters. That changed when she received a wild card to play the Australian Open juniors. She returned home and told her mother she wanted to make a go of it on the women's pro tour.

"I guess I had a funny look on my face, because she said she would finish high school but this is what she would like to do. And she did. She did her all-night senior party and then left the next day for Wimbledon. She had friends, she was a normal child. I never had to tell her to go practice, she just did."

It is this single-mindedness that has helped Lindsay Davenport to return to the game from injury on numerous occasions, and now to Bali only three months after giving birth. She was impressive in crushing Daniilidou in straight sets.

"She's extremely focused, and when she makes up her mind she works really hard at something," Ann Davenport said.

Tennis is a sport that can bring dizzying fame and fantastic money to overwhelm impressionable minds. At the ripe old age of 31, Davenport is still very normal despite her achievements, and considered among the friendliest, most sensible and self-deprecating of the pros. Just plain decent.

When asked who she respected the most, she responded, "All working women in the world ... I know how lucky I am to be doing this job, playing for a few hours and then being able to go back to my son."

It's not hard to see where that grounding comes from. Asked what makes her proudest of her daughter, Ann Davenport does not mention the three Grand Slam singles titles, Olympic gold or the almost US$22 million in prize money.

"She's a gracious loser as well as a winner," she said. "You need to be that, too. I'm her mother, but I think she has been good for the sport."

The Daviator
Sep 14th, 2007, 11:04 PM
"She's a gracious loser as well as a winner," she said. "You need to be that, too. I'm her mother, but I think she has been good for the sport." [/B][/COLOR]

Ann :worship:

Sep 14th, 2007, 11:07 PM
She should be a role model for all tennis parents.

Sep 14th, 2007, 11:17 PM
"She's a gracious loser as well as a winner," she said. "You need to be that, too. I'm her mother, but I think she has been good for the sport."

She is.

Sep 14th, 2007, 11:31 PM
"She's a gracious loser as well as a winner," she said. "You need to be that, too. I'm her mother, but I think she has been good for the sport."

I've always loved Ann's attitude. She keeps everything in great perspective.

Sep 14th, 2007, 11:35 PM
Ann has been so great for Lindsay too. She has never put pressure on her.

Sep 15th, 2007, 12:48 AM
Ann is so so so nice, I met her at Wimbledon in 2005 during one of Lindsay's early round doubles matches and she was really surprised that anyone actually recognised her!

Sep 15th, 2007, 12:50 AM
i love Ann!!! pure class!!!

Sep 15th, 2007, 12:52 AM
A class act all the way :D

Sep 15th, 2007, 02:45 AM
Lindsay lost her bag?? oh it's so typical of indonesia's airport problem :(

*anyway i'm an indonesian myself... :)*

Sep 15th, 2007, 03:25 AM
Ann :) :rocker2:

Sep 15th, 2007, 03:37 AM
Ann is a magnificent person; I met her in New Haven.

Sep 15th, 2007, 03:53 AM
What a precious article. Lindsay and her mom are amazing

Sep 15th, 2007, 07:02 AM
The Davenports all seem like wonderful people. :)