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spiceboy
Jan 13th, 2006, 05:47 PM
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,17815593^2722,00.html

Lindsay unveils a grand plan
Chip Le Grand
January 14, 2006

LINDSAY DAVENPORT describes it as a wave of exhaustion. One set up and three games all against Serena Williams, it was all she could do to walk to the baseline to serve. She was like a sporting shipwreck, marooned in the middle of an Australian Open final. A final that was as good as over.

When she thinks back one year to that day on the Rod Laver Arena, Davenport knows the match was lost before she walked out on court. The night before her first Grand Slam final in five years, Davenport sat in her hotel room with husband Jon and wept from fatigue. "I was just completely wiped," she said. "There was absolutely nothing left."

Davenport believes several things caused her second-set meltdown against Williams, who went on to win the next nine games and the Australian Open. There was her gruelling quarter-final singles match against Alicia Molik. There was the emotion of partnering friend and cancer survivor Corina Morariu in the doubles. There was the heat and an unforgiving schedule, which allowed her no time to recover between matches.

"The Australian Open was something I had never experienced before," she told The Weekend Australian. "An absolute wave of exhaustion came over me. It was a really tough week with the singles and doubles. The night before the final, I remember sitting with my husband and crying because I was so tired.

"I didn't leave my room for two days afterwards. I was so disappointed that I had fought so hard for a few years to get back to a final and that was the result."

For Davenport, it was a bitter-sweet taste of things to come. The 2005 season was another fine achievement for the grand dame of the women's tour. She played all year and won six titles. She won another $US2.6million in prizemoney and finished the year as the No.1 player in the world.

Yet it could have been spectacular. If only Davenport had kept an ounce of fuel in reserve in Melbourne. If only she had made one more shot at Wimbledon, where she lost to Venus Williams in the longest women's final at the All England Club. It would have been her year.

While some players play for rankings and some for money, Davenport covets one thing in tennis.

"It is unfortunate to me that our careers are measured in greatness by how many Grand Slams you have and the fact of the matter is in the last few years I haven't been able to win one," she said.

"I don't concentrate on the rankings, so for me to end up as No.1 is not a big deal. I want to win three slams a year and don't care about the other tournaments."

The one tournament Davenport cares about now is next week's Australian Open, beginning with her first-round opponent, Australian Casey Dellacqua. And if experience has taught her one thing, it is to learn from past mistakes.

She has begun working with a new coach, former ATP professional David Dilucia, ditched doubles and changed her usual preparation by skipping the Sydney International en route to Melbourne Park. She took a six-week break from tennis, arrived in Melbourne a full week ahead of the Open and is feeling fit, refreshed and motivated.

If the Australian Open comes down to a survival of the fittest, Davenport has given herself every chance.

"I would never trade the doubles with Corina. It was one of the highlights of my career getting back to a final with her after she nearly died," Davenport said.

"But I won't do it again. At this age, I have to focus all my attention and energies on singles. I never want to feel like that again in a Grand Slam final."

Tournament director Paul McNamee believes this year's women's draw is the best that has been assembled. On paper, he has a strong argument. Both the Williams sisters are here and Jennifer Capriati's "Belgian sisters" are back, even if Capriati is not.

The tennis world is holding its breath for the Grand Slam return of Martina Hingis and Australian tennis is equally anxious to see what the second coming of Jelena Dokic might produce. Then there is Maria Sharapova and Amelie Mauresmo, who have both been ranked No.1 in the past 18 months.

But if the names are all here, the fitness and form of some of the brightest stars is still suspect. Kim Clijsters will carry a sore hip into the tournament and Sharapova a dodgy shoulder. Hingis is at the start of an arduous and uncertain comeback and champion Serena Williams has returned from injury looking short of peak fitness.

In contrast, Davenport is in the full blush of health.

It is more than two years since she missed an important match from injury. The last time she had this kind of run was the late 1990s and 2000, when she won her three Grand Slam titles.

She has had her share of injuries; most notably a chronic knee problem which forced her withdrawal from the better part of 2002 and hamstring and foot problems which followed. At Wimbledon two years ago, Davenport herself believed her days of being a Grand Slam contender had come to an end and retirement beckoned.

But if Davenport, now in her 30th year and 15th on tour, hasn't gotten any younger, she has grown smarter about how to train, how to pick her tournaments and how to stay in the game.

"I think it is just maturity," she said. "You see the year's schedule and you can see where it is important to play well. I am not concerned about playing 20 to 40 tournaments. I keep mine to about 15 or 16 tournaments and focus on performing the best that I can at those times. I look forward to my time off and when there is time off, I do not play tennis.

"Some players can't skip a tournament. There is always somewhere you can go to play and make more money. You really just have to let it go. For me, I pick my tournaments and do my training around trying to peak for those tournaments. And I let it go when I am not playing.

"I don't worry about how other players are doing, I don't worry about moving up in the rankings if a certain person loses. For me, it is a healthier outlook than always being concerned about what I am missing."

Davenport's training regime has also changed dramatically. Her right knee, although it gives her no pain, has a degenerative condition which limits her time on the practice court. Most of her fitness work is done on a bike or in a pool.

She uses weight training for strength and conditioning and her partnership with Dilucia has brought a new tactical and technical emphasis to her game. And there is no more talk of retirement.

"It makes a huge difference when you are feeling healthy and you feel that you can give 100 per cent," Davenport said.

"When you are out there playing tournaments at 75 or 50 per cent, your expectations have to drop, and it is no fun thinking 'gosh, I hope I get to the quarters'. You want to go into tournaments thinking you can win if you play well. It is a huge mental disability when you are fighting your body as well as your opponent. "I feel good, I feel really excited, and I have committed through this whole year. I have no idea about 2007, but at this point, I am happy doing well, I am really happy playing and I am going to go with it for as long as I can."

blumaroo
Jan 13th, 2006, 06:06 PM
Great article :)
I like this statement: "I don't concentrate on the rankings, so for me to end up as No.1 is not a big deal. I want to win three slams a year and don't care about the other tournaments."

What are you waiting for Lindsay? And lol at three slams...leaving out RG thats for sure hehe.

CrossCourt~Rally
Jan 13th, 2006, 06:33 PM
Nice article...thanks for posting... :yeah:

JonBcn
Jan 13th, 2006, 07:05 PM
bloody hell, yes, it must have been terrible having to play a whole match a day for two weeks.

!<blocparty>!
Jan 13th, 2006, 07:21 PM
Thanks. :)

foreva lindsay
Jan 13th, 2006, 07:28 PM
cool article :D

TonyP
Jan 13th, 2006, 08:21 PM
"I want to win three slams a year and don't care about the other tournaments."

This is a rather strange statement to come from the number one player in the world. So, is she telling the organizers and the fans who attend Indian Wells and Miami and Rome and the year end championship that those tournaments don't matter to her. If so, is she giving less than a 100 percent effort in those contests.

dav abu
Jan 13th, 2006, 08:25 PM
lovely article, thank you for posting it. This quote in particular made me smile - "I feel good, I feel really excited, and I have committed through this whole year. I have no idea about 2007, but at this point, I am happy doing well, I am really happy playing and I am going to go with it for as long as I can."

lindsayno1
Jan 13th, 2006, 08:26 PM
no it means that she only wants slams. thats what they all want. lindsay just says it as it is...

<!Society!>
Jan 13th, 2006, 08:29 PM
thats an ace article cheers

Lady
Jan 13th, 2006, 08:34 PM
Loved the article. Thanks!

ptkten
Jan 13th, 2006, 08:36 PM
"I want to win three slams a year and don't care about the other tournaments."

This is a rather strange statement to come from the number one player in the world. So, is she telling the organizers and the fans who attend Indian Wells and Miami and Rome and the year end championship that those tournaments don't matter to her. If so, is she giving less than a 100 percent effort in those contests.

Yes, and there's nothing wrong with that. Most players, if they answered honestly, would tell you that the slams are by far the most important tournaments for them

TonyP
Jan 13th, 2006, 08:37 PM
Sorry, but then she should not bother playing the other tournaments, because she is not giving it her all.

She is giving the paying fans less than what they deserve.

Also, she should not say she doesn't care about being number one, either.

kiwifan
Jan 13th, 2006, 08:47 PM
no it means that she only wants slams. thats what they all want. lindsay just says it as it is...

:worship: :worship: :worship: :worship: :worship:

dav abu
Jan 13th, 2006, 08:49 PM
infairness Lindsay never disrespects the other tournaments and along with Kim is the most consistent player on tour, when was the last time she didn't bother and crashed out early of a lesser tournament? also she has said on many occasions how proud she is of her ranking record but this article was about the Australian Open and her Slam finals last year and at this stage aged 29 of course the Slams are going to be what she cares about.

mauresmofan
Jan 13th, 2006, 08:50 PM
I like this attitude from Lindsay - she's just being honest and telling it like it is. Of course the Grand Slams mean the most to her - I took it from what she said that the other tournaments are not counted in the realms of greatness when all is said and done and well that is a fact!

huh?
Jan 13th, 2006, 08:56 PM
someone has their panties in an industrial strength wad...

vwfan
Jan 13th, 2006, 08:56 PM
This article should make Davenport fans happy. It is good hearing her sound so clear. She's got perspective.

When Venus said this at age 21, that she didn't worry about #1 and was focused on the slams (and the ranking would necessarily follow if she is winning grand slams), that she doesn't beat herself up over missed opportunities, and doesn't focus on what other players are doing, the tennis world that she was arrogant, disrespectful of the sport, and not really focused.

Funny how Davenport has articulated the same sentiments after being on the tour for 15 years and I think it sounds like a really healthy perspective even if others (fans) always want more.

Elldee
Jan 13th, 2006, 09:12 PM
Lindsay enjoys playing tournements and enjoys the winning feeling and has said how much she loves tournements Amelia Island and Stanford but she has manymanymany titles and would trade all that for another slam.

SvetaPleaseWin.
Jan 13th, 2006, 09:21 PM
she definetly deserves more slams, 3 does not do her talent justice

goldenboi356
Jan 13th, 2006, 09:30 PM
i would love lindsay win 3 slam a year. don't loose hope lindsay n do things that make u happy.

Libertango
Jan 13th, 2006, 09:43 PM
Come on Lindsay!!! It's your year for a GS, and why not start in Melbourne?! :yeah:

There is no other player I respect more than Lindsay, and I wish her the very best.

yes_sir
Jan 13th, 2006, 09:49 PM
Nice article, GL Lindsay

dinhd82
Jan 13th, 2006, 09:50 PM
Great Article, especially about the world holding it's breath for Hingis' GS return, sounds so regal! hehe. And go Lindsay, you are my favorite after hingis and pierce!!

Zauber
Jan 13th, 2006, 09:57 PM
she makes a lot of sense.
Giving everything she has to the few tournaments she attends is honourable and respectful to tennis fans thank you.
I wish all players had the luxury to approach the season this way.
Please WTA reduce the number of tournaments that a player counts for their rankings.
a pipedream of mine. It would put more emphasis on quality rather than quantity.
But the sponsors and money-makers would not like it.

Andy.
Jan 13th, 2006, 09:59 PM
Nice article thanks for posting. She is such a sweet, genuine and honest person.

henmanhill
Jan 13th, 2006, 10:20 PM
Lindsay has a very sensible and healthy attitude towards the game. She's up there with Venus and Martina Nav as my favourite players.

Farina Elia Fan
Jan 13th, 2006, 11:48 PM
what a nice article!!!


PLEASE WIN AUS OPEN LINDSAY!!!

jenny161185
Jan 14th, 2006, 12:37 AM
lovbe to see Lindsay or Kim win the Aussie open

Stephieva
Jan 14th, 2006, 12:43 AM
Love ya Lindsay... :kiss:
I really hope ya win a slam this year... c'mon :rocker: