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View Full Version : Davenport Plans Comeback Run, Not Fairwell Tour


hurricanejeanne
Aug 20th, 2006, 01:53 PM
By Doris Yon
THE NEWS-TIMES


Lindsay Davenport, the Pilot Penís defending champion, will play in just her second tournament since March.
NEW HAVEN -- To Lindsay Davenport, the R-word signifies return and not retirement.
Despite enduring a five-month layoff with a back injury this year, the 30-year-old Davenport is looking to reclaim her spot as one of the world's top tennis players, starting at this week's Pilot Pen Tennis tournament. "I've enjoyed the last six weeks and the challenge of trying to come back and the challenge of trying to get my game back," said Davenport, the seventh seed in the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament."That tells me it's not my time yet to say goodbye. I hope that I still can produce at the level that I'm used to producing at, and I look at that as a big challenge to see if I can get back up to the level that I'm accustomed to playing at."

Davenport, the defending champion at the Pilot Pen, is playing just her second tournament since March.

Two bulging discs in her lower back forced Davenport to miss both the French Open and Wimbledon. The layoff also dropped Davenport's ranking from No. 1 at the beginning of the year to 10th, her lowest since ending an injury-filled 2002 season at No. 12.

The tradeoff benefited Davenport, as she said she is playing pain free for the first time in more than a year.

"It feels really good," said Davenport, who faces Katarina Srebotnik in the first round Monday. "Even Thursday getting off (the plane) -- it probably takes five hours to fly here from L.A. -- and it felt really good. I was able to practice and play early (Friday) morning and had no problems."

Davenport said she initially hurt her back during the 2005 Wimbledon final, where she lost to Venus Williams 4-6, 7-6 (4), 9-7. While she had a light schedule after Wimbledon -- the Bank of the West Classic was the only tournament she played in between the Grand Slam and the Pilot Pen -- she had a full slate in the fall.

Davenport won three tournaments -- the Wismilak International, the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix and the Zurich Open -- before playing in the season-ending Tour Championships. Having played all those matches, however, she never allowed her back to fully heal.

"It really pretty much stayed with me all the way through March, when I finally couldn't play," Davenport said. "(The injury got) increasingly worse as the months went on."

Her limited playing schedule reflected the back troubles, as Davenport played in just three tournaments before her break this year.

After losing to Martina Hingis in the fourth round of the Pacific Life Open in March, Davenport realized that she needed a break in order to let her body heal. And the first step in the healing process was to stop playing and practice all together.

"In the beginning, because it was so bad, it was mostly rest," Davenport said. "That is really hard to do when you're used to being active and you're used to doing what you want."

Slowly she began doing light physical activity, but she didn't begin hitting balls again until July, roughly four months after her break began. "It's a long road back no matter however long you're out for, but to not hit a ball in almost four months, it's tough to get everything back in a quick amount of time," Davenport said. "I feel each week there's been really big improvements and this last week has been really great. I feel like I'm getting back to being able to play well, hopefully."

She entered the JP Morgan Classic earlier this month, but she lost in her only match of the tournament, bowing out in the second round to Samantha Stosur 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-3.

"I played a few weeks ago in L.A. and definitely played before I was ready," Davenport said. "Where am I going to be about two weeks later? I feel like I've made a lot of improvements in those two weeks."

Davenport is hoping those improvements will translate into a good showing at the Pilot Pen and next week's U.S. Open. As for the rest of the year, she still is deciding on her playing schedule.

Coordinating her schedule in small increments, Davenport said she plans on playing in a few tournaments in December leading up to next year's Australian Open. She admits that she's not making plans yet to play in the French Open or Wimbledon, but she said she is not ready to retire either. "I don't know what the process is, but I'm sure if I'm sitting there not wanting to go play tennis, I would definitely retire," Davenport said. "There's nothing stopping me, nothing forcing me back out there."

hurricanejeanne
Aug 20th, 2006, 02:10 PM
I liked this article, we got some more answers.

I'm happy she's completely healthy for the first time in a year! I had no idea that her back was still bothering her last fall, there were no signs of it. I guess she really wanted that year end number one ranking again (sounds a bit like 2001...)
I'm happy she plans to the Australian Open again next year.
I had no idea there were 2 bulging discs either.

I really hope she is playing better than she was two weeks ago. Because if she is she can certainly make a huge run at this tournament.

I'm just really happy to hear her say after all of this "I'm not ready to retire."
It's like music to my ears. I hope she still has some top 5 tennis in her as well.

GrandSlam05
Aug 20th, 2006, 02:58 PM
I liked this article, we got some more answers.

I'm happy she's completely healthy for the first time in a year! I had no idea that her back was still bothering her last fall, there were no signs of it. I guess she really wanted that year end number one ranking again (sounds a bit like 2001...)
I'm happy she plans to the Australian Open again next year.
I had no idea there were 2 bulging discs either.

I really hope she is playing better than she was two weeks ago. Because if she is she can certainly make a huge run at this tournament.

I'm just really happy to hear her say after all of this "I'm not ready to retire."
It's like music to my ears. I hope she still has some top 5 tennis in her as well.
Ditto. I had no idea she was playing in pain all those months. It sounds like she's really enjoying herself! :kiss:

mike/topgun
Aug 20th, 2006, 04:49 PM
"I played a few weeks ago in L.A. and definitely played before I was ready," Davenport said. "Where am I going to be about two weeks later? I feel like I've made a lot of improvements in those two weeks."
Sounds convincing, not like before LA;)

edit:
Ditto. I had no idea she was playing in pain all those months.

Maybe, cos I wasn't posting on this board yet at that time?;)
Ever since her back got worse, that she was foced to stop in March, I wrote lots of posts about the Wimbledon final (when she got injured) and the chronic back injuries that are tough to heal when you play. I was aware she was not 100% during USO, the fall season and begining of this year...that was mainly why I was really surprised with the way she performed. :wavey:

The Daviator
Aug 20th, 2006, 05:10 PM
Great news that she's going to Australia again! No way, after the '05 final, did I think she'd play twice more there! Anyway, I hope she plays a reasonable schedule for the rest of the season, '06 is still salvageable!

lindsayno1
Aug 20th, 2006, 05:20 PM
if shes traning to get back to how she was etc, i cant see her just playng uso and ao...shes gonna do wimbledon...

RJWCapriati
Aug 20th, 2006, 05:32 PM
good news!!

Nikki
Aug 20th, 2006, 07:13 PM
Thanks for the article. Great to hear Lindsay positive and challenging herself to perform well.

hurricanejeanne
Aug 20th, 2006, 07:34 PM
Ditto. I had no idea she was playing in pain all those months. It sounds like she's really enjoying herself! :kiss:

You know she did pull out of Beijing last September siting her back. And maybe that was why she talked about playing a reduced schedule back in the spring so much. I guess she may have been dropping hints the whole time.

I'm so happy she has allowed herself to completely heal and that she still has it in her to play at her best. I am interested in to what kind of fall schedule she will do this year, she isn't making the YEC so she could possibly play one more of the other fall indoor tournaments to get some more matches.
Now, she just has to get her form back. :)

davenport124
Aug 20th, 2006, 08:42 PM
Thanks for posting this article, I am really happy to hear this! I hope she can have a good New Haven/US Open, and then a good indoor season and get her ranking into the top 5.

Does anyone know if there's still a chance for her to qualify for the WTA Championships?

lindsayno1
Aug 20th, 2006, 08:59 PM
i doubt it...she'd have to have a pretty good run at all the tourneys she plays 4 the rest of the year. And now its in Madrid i doubt she will care less if she is there or not...

mike/topgun
Aug 20th, 2006, 09:05 PM
I hope she can have a good New Haven/US Open, and then a good indoor season and get her ranking into the top 5.
that's not possible, cos she's defending loads of points: Zurich - 300, Filderstadt- 220, Bali -140, US Open- 174 and New Haven- 195...so now she's got 1588 points (on Monday she'll lose 195 for NH=1393 pts) whereas n5 atm has 800pts more than Lindsay and not that much to defend. But if Lindsay wins US Open, Bali, Filerstadt, Zurich and i.e. Beijing she'll sure be n5:lol:
Does anyone know if there's still a chance for her to qualify for the WTA Championships?
Basically she needs to defend some of her titles and have a good run in New York, or win all fall events where she's the defending champ plus Moscow, Beijing.;) That's a lot to do.
Maybe some players like Nicole, Patty or Martina will have worse run in next months, but Lindsay is 1200pts behind Martina who's 8th in the race atm. The chances are only in theory even though Kim's probably not playing in YEC.

Lindsayfan32
Aug 20th, 2006, 09:18 PM
Thanks for posting I've only read the article in bits but I will read it all later. I love the first line that the r word means return not retirement aussie opens and aussie summers just aren't going to be the same without her and now I think I can safely say she will play here next year body willing.

hurricanejeanne
Aug 20th, 2006, 09:21 PM
She isn't making the YEC and I doubt she really cares, especially, like 'lindsayno1' said, since it's in Madrid now.

She can't make top 5, lol, she'll be lucky to end the season in the top 20. She's defending way too much.
The catch is, she is defending very little next season so her ranking will most likely jump rather quickly come next year. The remainer of the season is defending her points the best she can and regaining her rhythm. :)

davenport124
Aug 20th, 2006, 10:00 PM
If she can get confident and is fully fit, I don't see why she can't defend her titles. She did a similar thing last year, after missing most of the summer, she won 4 out of her last 6 tournaments and her back wasen't even fully healed. Now, her back is healed, she just needs the matches. It may be a bit late for the YEC or even the top 5, but she still could have a great end to the year.

MH0861
Aug 20th, 2006, 11:56 PM
If she feels inspired to trek to Europe, she should defend a reasonable amount of her points. She'll definitely play Bali, I think, and hopefully she'll make a deep run at the US Open. I'm just glad she plans on going to Australia at the moment.

Andrew..
Aug 21st, 2006, 12:29 AM
Lindsay didn't look so good in practice today.

hurricanejeanne
Aug 21st, 2006, 12:44 AM
Lindsay didn't look so good in practice today.

That's what some else in GM reported too...
they said she wasn't hitting the ball well at all.

Do you have anymore details?

Andrew..
Aug 21st, 2006, 02:02 AM
I was there watching her. She was laughing at her mistakes, but she was just really off. She was missing a ton of balls, and missing serves by feet.

GrandSlam05
Aug 21st, 2006, 02:07 AM
Well, she doesn't have much time to get her shit together. Hopefully she was just screwing around.

hurricanejeanne
Aug 21st, 2006, 02:12 AM
still missing the serves by feet. she was like that before her injury too. that's nice.

I'm all for her having a good time, but she's too good to be ranked where she'll be ranked if she doesn't get her shit together.
One article I read this weekend sited that she's having trouble moving side to side for shots too. this isn't good.
Andrew, do you think its just rust?

I seriously am beginning to think that she's coming back too soon, just for the open otherwise she'd stay home and practice for two months solid and train before she came back. I don't think she can handle two or even three first round losses in a row. She'll start second guessing herself.

Andrew..
Aug 21st, 2006, 02:17 AM
She's not coming back too soon. The injury is 100% healed. Rust is no reason to remain inactive.

hurricanejeanne
Aug 21st, 2006, 02:31 AM
She's not coming back too soon. The injury is 100% healed. Rust is no reason to remain inactive.

So it seems to be all rust, she's shanking her shots...?

The reason I suggest that she's coming back too soon is because when she was out with her knee in 02 she practiced for like 2 months before she came back because she had a lot of mental issues with her knee to get over (she kept running into the net in practice because she was afraid to stop on that knee). Maybe the same thing is happening with her game now...the serve isn't the same like she's afraid to go after and moving side to side, she's afraid to strench wide because of her back. Just a thought. I wasn't watching her back then, but I have done a lot of research so I don't know. Honestly, was she like this when she came back in 02?

I just don't get it, I guess.

Andrew..
Aug 21st, 2006, 02:42 AM
2002 was kinda similar. She sucked when she debuted in Fed Cup, but she was decent at Stanford the next week. She really built up her form through the summer, and was really the #3 player in the world by the USO, IMO. Her second set against Serena at the USO was just some classic tennis... She had some serious mental issues with that comeback, though. She should have won like four titles in 2002. And then there's the Seles match, which was a total disaster.

hurricanejeanne
Aug 21st, 2006, 02:50 AM
2002 was kinda similar. She sucked when she debuted in Fed Cup, but she was decent at Stanford the next week. She really built up her form through the summer, and was really the #3 player in the world by the USO, IMO. Her second set against Serena at the USO was just some classic tennis... She had some serious mental issues with that comeback, though. She should have won like four titles in 2002. And then there's the Seles match, which was a total disaster.

Yeah, I picked a bad time to start following her and this game, USO 03 when she got spanked by the Saint...

But that's what I discovered in my research. She'd have multiple match points and just couldn't close it out the Moscow final, ditto in Zurich, and that Monica match is ugly on paper. Wasn't her first match back actually for WTT, I know it technically doesn't count, but I think she actually lost that.

How long do you think it will take her to shake the rest of this rust off?

GrandSlam05
Aug 21st, 2006, 03:06 AM
Guys could you please elaborate more on her 2002 comeback. I'd serious like to know.

The Daviator
Aug 21st, 2006, 07:39 AM
Guys could you please elaborate more on her 2002 comeback. I'd serious like to know.

She was out until July, but she came back very strong, lost in the semis in Stanford to Kim, and semis in San Diego to Vee, then reached two finals in a row (lost to Rubin in LA :o ) Basically she shook off the rust pretty quick, but it was a terrible season, she lost 3 tight finals that she should have won, ended the year with nothing...

davenport124
Aug 21st, 2006, 08:29 AM
Yes it was a bad year since she had finished the previous season world number 1. Her first events were great, and it definetely looked like she would win a title but lost those close matches to Maleeva and Schnyder, players she normally would thrash. Even earlier in the year, she lost that tight match to Chanda. It is the only year in her pro career she didn't win a title. The next season was pretty bad for her standards, but she got it together in 04.

lindsayno1
Aug 21st, 2006, 09:36 AM
Andrew did u get any pix?!

GrandSlam05
Aug 21st, 2006, 12:01 PM
Thanks guys I wasn't watching women's tennis in '02. In fact the only women's match I saw that year was the Vee-Ree US Open final.