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Robbie.
Dec 14th, 2006, 01:33 AM
Lindsay Davenport’s pregnancy hardly comes as a surprise; it has, in tandem with retirement talk, been the background theme to her career for the past two or three years. And while she has not officially called it a day, it would appear that with this announcement the two themes have intersected – her full time career is certainly over and if Davenport is true to character it is difficult to see her back at all. It is therefore a useful juncture to reflect on a grand career.

Lindsay Davenport has never been the star of the show, but she has been the tour’s bedrock for the last decade. Her rankings history illustrates this picture brilliantly. In the past ten years Davenport has finished in the top three 7 times (1997,1998,1999,2000,2001,2004,2005), of those 6 were spent in the top two ( 1998,1999,2000,2001,2004,2005) and four at number one (1998,2001,2004,2005). Of the years she failed to make the top 3, she spent more than six months out in both 2002 and 2006 with injury and was crippled by injuries in a season when she still finished in the top 5 in 2003. It’s a record of excellence that the so called brighter lights of her generation – Hingis, Henin and the Williams Sisters - cannot match; surpassed only by the true legends such as Graf, Evert and Navratilova.

Davenport was never a prodigy. As a teen she was first overshadowed by the likes of Capriati and Seles and as she entered her twenties was seemingly destined to be left behind by the new wave of teen stars - Hingis, Williams, Kournikova and Lucic. When she broke through for her first major title at the 1998 US Open, at the age of 22, she admitted that no one had ever thought that she would amount to anything. Yet in the end, Davenport remained on the top of the sport long after her more fancied rivals had reached their expiry date.

In hindsight, Davenport’s success probably should not have come as so great a surprise. As a teenager she always carried too much condition, yet by the age of 18 she was safely inside the top ten – finishing at number six in 1994. Striking the ball as hard and as cleanly as any woman ever had, the signs were there that if she were ever to get into shape the number one ranking beckoned. But by the end of 1995, when she had slumped to number 12 in the world, this looked but a pipe dream. At the age of 19, and with poisonous locker room whispers labelling her ‘dump truck’, Davenport considered retirement. She was convinced to go on by her great friend Mary Joe Fernandez and enlisted the immortal Billy Jean King to whip her into shape. Over the next decade her career became one of the greatest testimonies to work ethic and commitment in WTA history.

The hard work began to pay off almost immediately. In the summer of 1996, she beat four top ten players in succession to win Olympic Gold in Atlanta. In the gold medal match she out hit the Barcelona Bumblebee Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, who in five previous meetings had run the towering Davenport ragged. It was a watershed match. A couple of weeks later she clobbered the world number one Graf in straight sets for her first victory over a number one player en route to the title in Los Angeles. In 1997 she won 6 titles, became one of only 5 players all year to defeat the 16 year old world number one Hingis and entered the top five and then the top three for the first time. Yet despite this steady improvement, she was still underestimated. In May 1998, Hingis’ ever present mother Melanie Molitor declared Venus Williams the biggest threat to her daughter’s status as the best player in the world. She was forced to eat her words a few months later when Davenport battered Williams and Hingis in succession to win the US Open and then dethroned Hingis as number one on October 12 1998. Davenport was WTA player of the year in 1998 and 1999. In 1999-2000 she won five straight encounters with Hingis in straight sets. During this period she added an emotional 1999 Wimbledon victory over the legendary Graf and a brutal thrashing of Hingis in the 2000 Australian Open final to her Grand Slam resume.

For a woman often criticised for a seeming lack of on court vigour and commitment (particularly after her defeat at Wimbledon in 2004, and even more so after her 2005 Australian Open finals loss to Serena Williams), the moniker of the hardest worker of her generation may seem ill fitting. Yet the more I survey her career, the more I am convinced of its appropriateness. Davenport was never a great athlete. Yet unlike those who were also athletically handicapped – Hingis and Seles come to mind for different reasons – there was never a sense in the last ten years of her career that she could have gotten more out of her body if only she had the will. And then there were those more athletically gifted but who could only sustain the motivation to be in top shape for short bursts of time such as Serena and Venus Williams, Jennifer Capriati and Kim Clijsters. For hard work and commitment sustained over a long period, only Henin-Hardenne rivals Davenport, but she has sustained that commitment for four or five years, Davenport for ten.

Without this commitment it’s hard to see how Davenport’s Indian Summer of 2004-2005 could have come to a fruition. After hitting her peak in 1998-2000, Davenport had gradually been slowed by a combination of knee, wrist, shoulder, foot and ankle injuries. Despite still residing in the top 5 at the end of 2003, her game looked outmoded by the faster, athletic games of the Williams Sisters, Clijsters and Henin Hardenne – and the gulf seemed to be widening. At the beginning of 2004, Davenport had won just one title in the preceding two seasons. She looked only a minor hope of adding significantly to her imposing 38 career titles, 38 weeks at number one, dual year end number one crowns and three major titles. After a discouraging semi-final loss to Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon 2004 she signalled that the end was nigh. Yet after Wimbledon her persistence finally paid off as her intimidating game ‘clicked’. She went on a tear of four straight tournament victories over the American summer – by the fall she was number one again.

For many people her 2004 and 2005 seasons alone constitute a mighty successful career. She finished both seasons ranked number one, spending another 50 weeks there in total. She collected seven titles in 2004 and six in 2005 and, perhaps most satisfyingly, turned her head to heads with both Williams Sisters and Clijsters around. The one link missing was a fourth major but she went agonisingly close at Wimbledon and US Open in 2004, at the Australian Open in 2005 and in a Wimbledon final against Venus Williams in 2005 where she held match point before losing a match for the ages, 9-7 in the third set. Her 2004 and 2005 exploits took her career titles to 51, leaving her contemporaries like Hingis, the Williams Sisters, Capriati, Henin and Clijsters well in arrears. Of that group, only Hingis has spent more time at number one, but Davenport ended there four times to Hingis’ three. Her career Prize money was boosted to $21,763,653 leaving her just over a hundred thousand short of being the winningness female player of all time.

Throughout it all Davenport’s abiding normality has been the foundation of her public persona and a grounding force on the WTA. When Davenport was finally fulfilling her promise in the late nineties, the WTA was in danger of becoming a circus act. The pubescent Hingis ruled the tour with a maturity beyond her years on court and petulance which reflected her youth off it (or when things went wrong on it). The Williams Sisters were equally brash and brought with them the baggage of race and a loud mouth father. Then there was Anna Kournikova, unquestionably the greatest celebrity ever to play on tour ,and the eternally glamorous Mary Pierce. Finally, there were the human struggles of Seles, in her attempt to recapture her glory days, and Capriati, trying to finally realise her potential after years in the wilderness. Davenport was always a tennis player first, and a celebrity second. And as her waistline shrunk, her personality bloomed as she developed into the tour’s greatest spokesperson. Sometimes controversial (such as her comments on Amelie Mauresmo’s masculine game after the 1999 Australian Open semifinal), she was always frank on issues from electronic line calling, to drugs, to equal prize money. She won the Diamond Aces Award for tour promotion in 1998 and 1999 and the Sportsmanship award in 2004 and has been prominent on the player’s council. While Davenport once seemed outnumbered by the tour glamour girls, it is her no frills commitment to the game which is now reflected in the attitude of the tour’s elite. You won’t find any of today’s top players – Mauresmo, Henin and even the classically good looking Sharapova - succumbing to the allure of the diva as Kournikova, the Williams Sisters and Hingis once did.

Yet in many ways Davenport’s normality was also her greatest enemy. While Henin Hardenne and Sharapova have professionalism in common with Davenport, their attitude also differs somewhat from hers in that tennis has always been a fantastic job and pastime, but not a life’s calling for Davenport. While Davenport has poured everything she possibly can into tennis, she has always compartmentalised the game in a way that other champions of the past and present haven’t. Davenport has never lived for tennis, it has always been just a part of her life. She had a ‘normal’ childhood, graduated high school and went to Prom; she got married and is now preparing for motherhood. In this context tennis has never been do or die as it is for Sharapova and Henin-Hardenne. Tennis has always been what she does, not who she is. This is perhaps reflected in her on court attitude which has at times seemingly left much to be desired. To adopt a cliché, even given her physical limitations, the most notable absentee from Davenport’s arsenal was a “killer instinct”. In many ways, Davenport’s normality has proved as big an obstacle to her success as the Williams Sisters' celebrity.

Davenport leaves tennis with a rich legacy and many wonderful memories, but perhaps less success on the biggest stages than her brilliant ball striking and admirable work ethic merited. Of course it is exactly those qualities that have held her back as a tennis player that ought to set her up for a successful life after tennis, particularly as a parent. If maternity is the end of the line for Davenport, it is fitting that her career is not ended by one of the plethora of tennis injuries that may have brought it to an end at any moment, but by the interference of ‘normal’ ‘everyday’ life. Davenport wouldn’t have it any other way.

hurricanejeanne
Dec 14th, 2006, 01:44 AM
Ah the Normal Ms. Davenport. How I love thee.

I will say that I am damn proud that her career didn't end on an injury, like tons of us believed. She made the call.

(I still do think that if she hadn't hurt her back so badly she might still have the motivation to play. But she always said she didn't want to be here if her ranking dropped too far and she stopped having fun.)

:worship:

!<blocparty>!
Dec 14th, 2006, 01:49 AM
Did you write that?

Good stuff.

Robbie.
Dec 14th, 2006, 01:56 AM
Did you write that?

Good stuff.

Yeah, I did. Thanks Tim.

Martian Stacey
Dec 14th, 2006, 02:07 AM
Nice summary :) She really did have an awesome career :worship:

Wish I could have seen her win a slam after 2000 (i was kind of bitter, so i didn't really enjoy that one :lol: )

MrSerenaWilliams
Dec 14th, 2006, 02:19 AM
that was AMAZING! :worship: :tears: that was beautiful

darrinbaker00
Dec 14th, 2006, 02:23 AM
Nice summary :) She really did have an awesome career :worship:

Wish I could have seen her win a slam after 2000 (i was kind of bitter, so i didn't really enjoy that one :lol: )
She had four shots at it, but __________ Williams got in the way.

-jenks-
Dec 14th, 2006, 02:29 AM
Great Read! :D

hurricanejeanne
Dec 14th, 2006, 02:32 AM
Yeah, I did. Thanks Tim.

That's just beautiful. Everything she is to us and the world of tennis.
Lindsay :kiss:

hingis-seles
Dec 14th, 2006, 03:16 AM
Wow. That was a wonderful read. What I love most about Lindsay is how she almost always spoke her mind, in a time of repetitive cliches, yet avoided getting stuck in the big controversies most of the time unlike Hingis and both the Williams Sisters.

I almost always rooted against Lindsay since I saw her as Martina's biggest rival, but this year, she really started to grow on me and the realization that she would be gone soon made me root for her even more. She was such a wonderful personality on the Tour and perhaps what was most appealing was that for all the confidence and frankness she had when she left, it wasn't always like this. To watch her transform as a player and as a personality over the last decade has been a privilege. In Lindsay, the Tour has not only lost one of it's class acts, but one of it's true spokespersons. She'll be sorely missed.

switz
Dec 14th, 2006, 03:30 AM
I've never been a huge Davenport fan but she deserves a lot of respect for the way she overhauled her physics and did everything possible to get the most out of her game.

The only thing about her that i didn't like was the way she seemed to almost give up in big matches towards the end of her career. It's understandable that after so many successful years and so many injuries it would be hard to always find the required motivation to put in that extra effort and indeed perhaps she was at times just outplayed. I do think the fact that she'll retire with only three slams is a shame because on ability alone she should be up there with the very best in that category.

Still it was a fantabulous career. Of course we are assuming she is retiring aren't we.

Robbie.
Dec 14th, 2006, 04:43 AM
That's just beautiful. Everything she is to us and the world of tennis.
Lindsay :kiss:

We'll miss her, that's for sure.

hurricanejeanne
Dec 14th, 2006, 04:46 AM
We'll miss her, that's for sure.

I already miss her. :sad:

Andy.
Dec 14th, 2006, 05:04 AM
Wow that was fantastic awesome awesome article, thanks so much for writing it, you have a career in journalism Robbie that was fantastic.

MisterQ
Dec 14th, 2006, 05:07 AM
Remarkable writing. You have nailed down the essence of Davenport's personality, and her greatness. :worship:

Dementieva_Dude
Dec 14th, 2006, 05:09 AM
First of all, great article!
I'm sad to see Lindsay go...I'll miss her game and her personality. I always LOVED the sound of the clean balls she struck...and the way that she thrashed top players by simply hitting them off the court. I hope history remembers her for the AMAZING player she is, and not as just another player in the Graf/Hingis/Williams/Belgion/Russian eras. I wish her all the best in the future, and I wouldn't mind hearing her do some commentary work either ;)

Josh.
Dec 14th, 2006, 05:10 AM
thats an awesome article! thanks robbie

LUIS9
Dec 14th, 2006, 07:12 AM
Wow. That was a wonderful read. What I love most about Lindsay is how she almost always spoke her mind, in a time of repetitive cliches, yet avoided getting stuck in the big controversies most of the time unlike Hingis and both the Williams Sisters.

I almost always rooted against Lindsay since I saw her as Martina's biggest rival, but this year, she really started to grow on me and the realization that she would be gone soon made me root for her even more. She was such a wonderful personality on the Tour and perhaps what was most appealing was that for all the confidence and frankness she had when she left, it wasn't always like this. To watch her transform as a player and as a personality over the last decade has been a privilege. In Lindsay, the Tour has not only lost one of it's class acts, but one of it's true spokespersons. She'll be sorely missed.

I know I have the same sentiments. However, I always respected Davenport despite the woopings she handed Hingis during her superb runs against Hingis. Not only do I respect her as a player but as a human being, her honest forward personality is very appealing and she's a pretty articulate woman.

Yes the tour has or will lose whenevr Davenport officially calls it quits a great
embassador for her sport.

hu2891601
Dec 14th, 2006, 08:11 AM
VERY well-written!!! amazing!

mr_burns
Dec 14th, 2006, 09:30 AM
thanks, beautiful memories...had some tears in my eyes...

Lindsayfan32
Dec 14th, 2006, 09:34 AM
Robbie excellent article. Could've put it better myself. I'm going to miss Lindsay as I have followed her career since 1994 when it was really only beginning and to see it end is sad but at the same time not surprising it been on the cards for the last three years really. Its just a pitty Lindsay and other sports people can't play forever but that's life.

Ben.
Dec 14th, 2006, 09:49 AM
Thanks Robbie, a well constructed article :worship:

This just shows how Lindsay has gone through the highs & the lows of the ever-growing women's game. She has accomplished a lot of milestones & achievements that plenty of the Top women's players might not of done.

She's also proved that you don't have to be extremely glamourous & super talented to make the stage of women's tennis but just to work hard & give it your best is what requires to make you one of the best in the history of the game. Plus her kind, mature & wonderful personality makes her a great person outside of tennis as well too.

If you had to name a player of being a model of supreme consistency it's Lindsay :yeah: I have always respected her game & her personality & I still will :) So therefore I take my hat off to her :hatoff:

MistyGrey
Dec 14th, 2006, 10:08 AM
Great stuff! :yeah:

Ceri
Dec 14th, 2006, 10:17 AM
Very nice article, thanks for writing! :)

cheyk
Dec 14th, 2006, 11:07 AM
Lindsay Davenport’s pregnancy hardly comes as a surprise; it has, in tandem with retirement talk, been the background theme to her career for the past two or three years. And while she has not officially called it a day, it would appear that with this announcement the two themes have intersected – her full time career is certainly over and if Davenport is true to character it is difficult to see her back at all. It is therefore a useful juncture to reflect on a grand career.

Lindsay Davenport has never been the star of the show, but she has been the tour’s bedrock for the last decade. Her rankings history illustrates this picture brilliantly. In the past ten years Davenport has finished in the top three 7 times (1997,1998,1999,2000,2001,2004,2005), of those 6 were spent in the top two ( 1998,1999,2000,2001,2004,2005) and four at number one (1998,2001,2004,2005). Of the years she failed to make the top 3, she spent more than six months out in both 2002 and 2006 with injury and was crippled by injuries in a season when she still finished in the top 5 in 2003. It’s a record of excellence that the so called brighter lights of her generation – Hingis, Henin and the Williams Sisters - cannot match; surpassed only by the true legends such as Graf, Evert and Navratilova.

Davenport was never a prodigy. As a teen she was first overshadowed by the likes of Capriati and Seles and as she entered her twenties was seemingly destined to be left behind by the new wave of teen stars - Hingis, Williams, Kournikova and Lucic. When she broke through for her first major title at the 1998 US Open, at the age of 22, she admitted that no one had ever thought that she would amount to anything. Yet in the end, Davenport remained on the top of the sport long after her more fancied rivals had reached their expiry date.

In hindsight, Davenport’s success probably should not have come as so great a surprise. As a teenager she always carried too much condition, yet by the age of 18 she was safely inside the top ten – finishing at number six in 1994. Striking the ball as hard and as cleanly as any woman ever had, the signs were there that if she were ever to get into shape the number one ranking beckoned. But by the end of 1995, when she had slumped to number 12 in the world, this looked but a pipe dream. At the age of 19, and with poisonous locker room whispers labelling her ‘dump truck’, Davenport considered retirement. She was convinced to go on by her great friend Mary Joe Fernandez and enlisted the immortal Billy Jean King to whip her into shape. Over the next decade her career became one of the greatest testimonies to work ethic and commitment in WTA history.

The hard work began to pay off almost immediately. In the summer of 1996, she beat four top ten players in succession to win Olympic Gold in Atlanta. In the gold medal match she out hit the Barcelona Bumblebee Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, who in five previous meetings had run the towering Davenport ragged. It was a watershed match. A couple of weeks later she clobbered the world number one Graf in straight sets for her first victory over a number one player en route to the title in Los Angeles. In 1997 she won 6 titles, became one of only 5 players all year to defeat the 16 year old world number one Hingis and entered the top five and then the top three for the first time. Yet despite this steady improvement, she was still underestimated. In May 1998, Hingis’ ever present mother Melanie Molitor declared Venus Williams the biggest threat to her daughter’s status as the best player in the world. She was forced to eat her words a few months later when Davenport battered Williams and Hingis in succession to win the US Open and then dethroned Hingis as number one on October 12 1998. Davenport was WTA player of the year in 1998 and 1999. In 1999-2000 she won five straight encounters with Hingis in straight sets. During this period she added an emotional 1999 Wimbledon victory over the legendary Graf and a brutal thrashing of Hingis in the 2000 Australian Open final to her Grand Slam resume.

For a woman often criticised for a seeming lack of on court vigour and commitment (particularly after her defeat at Wimbledon in 2004, and even more so after her 2005 Australian Open finals loss to Serena Williams), the moniker of the hardest worker of her generation may seem ill fitting. Yet the more I survey her career, the more I am convinced of its appropriateness. Davenport was never a great athlete. Yet unlike those who were also athletically handicapped – Hingis and Seles come to mind for different reasons – there was never a sense in the last ten years of her career that she could have gotten more out of her body if only she had the will. And then there were those more athletically gifted but who could only sustain the motivation to be in top shape for short bursts of time such as Serena and Venus Williams, Jennifer Capriati and Kim Clijsters. For hard work and commitment sustained over a long period, only Henin-Hardenne rivals Davenport, but she has sustained that commitment for four or five years, Davenport for ten.

Without this commitment it’s hard to see how Davenport’s Indian Summer of 2004-2005 could have come to a fruition. After hitting her peak in 1998-2000, Davenport had gradually been slowed by a combination of knee, wrist, shoulder, foot and ankle injuries. Despite still residing in the top 5 at the end of 2003, her game looked outmoded by the faster, athletic games of the Williams Sisters, Clijsters and Henin Hardenne – and the gulf seemed to be widening. At the beginning of 2004, Davenport had won just one title in the preceding two seasons. She looked only a minor hope of adding significantly to her imposing 38 career titles, 38 weeks at number one, dual year end number one crowns and three major titles. After a discouraging semi-final loss to Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon 2004 she signalled that the end was nigh. Yet after Wimbledon her persistence finally paid off as her intimidating game ‘clicked’. She went on a tear of four straight tournament victories over the American summer – by the fall she was number one again.

For many people her 2004 and 2005 seasons alone constitute a mighty successful career. She finished both seasons ranked number one, spending another 50 weeks there in total. She collected seven titles in 2004 and six in 2005 and, perhaps most satisfyingly, turned her head to heads with both Williams Sisters and Clijsters around. The one link missing was a fourth major but she went agonisingly close at Wimbledon and US Open in 2004, at the Australian Open in 2005 and in a Wimbledon final against Venus Williams in 2005 where she held match point before losing a match for the ages, 9-7 in the third set. Her 2004 and 2005 exploits took her career titles to 51, leaving her contemporaries like Hingis, the Williams Sisters, Capriati, Henin and Clijsters well in arrears. Of that group, only Hingis has spent more time at number one, but Davenport ended there four times to Hingis’ three. Her career Prize money was boosted to $21,763,653 leaving her just over a hundred thousand short of being the winningness female player of all time.

Throughout it all Davenport’s abiding normality has been the foundation of her public persona and a grounding force on the WTA. When Davenport was finally fulfilling her promise in the late nineties, the WTA was in danger of becoming a circus act. The pubescent Hingis ruled the tour with a maturity beyond her years on court and petulance which reflected her youth off it (or when things went wrong on it). The Williams Sisters were equally brash and brought with them the baggage of race and a loud mouth father. Then there was Anna Kournikova, unquestionably the greatest celebrity ever to play on tour ,and the eternally glamorous Mary Pierce. Finally, there were the human struggles of Seles, in her attempt to recapture her glory days, and Capriati, trying to finally realise her potential after years in the wilderness. Davenport was always a tennis player first, and a celebrity second. And as her waistline shrunk, her personality bloomed as she developed into the tour’s greatest spokesperson. Sometimes controversial (such as her comments on Amelie Mauresmo’s masculine game after the 1999 Australian Open semifinal), she was always frank on issues from electronic line calling, to drugs, to equal prize money. She won the Diamond Aces Award for tour promotion in 1998 and 1999 and the Sportsmanship award in 2004 and has been prominent on the player’s council. While Davenport once seemed outnumbered by the tour glamour girls, it is her no frills commitment to the game which is now reflected in the attitude of the tour’s elite. You won’t find any of today’s top players – Mauresmo, Henin and even the classically good looking Sharapova - succumbing to the allure of the diva as Kournikova, the Williams Sisters and Hingis once did.

Yet in many ways Davenport’s normality was also her greatest enemy. While Henin Hardenne and Sharapova have professionalism in common with Davenport, their attitude also differs somewhat from hers in that tennis has always been a fantastic job and pastime, but not a life’s calling for Davenport. While Davenport has poured everything she possibly can into tennis, she has always compartmentalised the game in a way that other champions of the past and present haven’t. Davenport has never lived for tennis, it has always been just a part of her life. She had a ‘normal’ childhood, graduated high school and went to Prom; she got married and is now preparing for motherhood. In this context tennis has never been do or die as it is for Sharapova and Henin-Hardenne. Tennis has always been what she does, not who she is. This is perhaps reflected in her on court attitude which has at times seemingly left much to be desired. To adopt a cliché, even given her physical limitations, the most notable absentee from Davenport’s arsenal was a “killer instinct”. In many ways, Davenport’s normality has proved as big an obstacle to her success as the Williams Sisters' celebrity.

Davenport leaves tennis with a rich legacy and many wonderful memories, but perhaps less success on the biggest stages than her brilliant ball striking and admirable work ethic merited. Of course it is exactly those qualities that have held her back as a tennis player that ought to set her up for a successful life after tennis, particularly as a parent. If maternity is the end of the line for Davenport, it is fitting that her career is not ended by one of the plethora of tennis injuries that may have brought it to an end at any moment, but by the interference of ‘normal’ ‘everyday’ life. Davenport wouldn’t have it any other way.

:worship: :worship: :worship:

The Daviator
Dec 14th, 2006, 11:57 AM
Thank you for that Robbie, you won't a better or more fitting tribute than that :worship:

pooh14
Dec 14th, 2006, 12:32 PM
there is not one sentence i don't agree with.
fantastic article. you exactly nailed davenport's points.

she was one of the few players, where tennis was not her life, just part of her like. she was one of the few players who never got into any trouble with other players....and one of the things many never players failed to do, staying on top for a very long time (more then 10 years)....she DID it...

Lindsay is one of the lagends in the game...

Crazy_Fool
Dec 14th, 2006, 01:30 PM
Wow Robbie that is a very good article, and its all so true.

Almost got me crying thinking about her :lol:

die_wahrheit
Dec 14th, 2006, 05:04 PM
Nice feature that she so often could qualify for the championships.
But she won it only once.

MisterQ
Dec 14th, 2006, 05:19 PM
Thanks Robbie, a well constructed article :worship:

This just shows how Lindsay has gone through the highs & the lows of the ever-growing women's game. She has accomplished a lot of milestones & achievements that plenty of the Top women's players might not of done.

She's also proved that you don't have to be extremely glamourous & super talented to make the stage of women's tennis but just to work hard & give it your best is what requires to make you one of the best in the history of the game. Plus her kind, mature & wonderful personality makes her a great person outside of tennis as well too.

If you had to name a player of being a model of supreme consistency it's Lindsay :yeah: I have always respected her game & her personality & I still will :) So therefore I take my hat off to her :hatoff:

I don't want to nitpick about this very nice tribute that you wrote. :yeah: But regarding the talent issue --- It's true that she wasn't recognized as a prodigy in her early years; perhaps this had a lot to do with her poor movement and fitness. Ultimately, however, I have to regard her ball-striking ability as a super talent. Robert Landsdorp did an excellent job with this, but if it was simply a matter of teaching, we'd have more women out there who could do what Davenport did. :lol: I think her immense talent has often been underrecognized. :)

mc8114
Dec 14th, 2006, 05:29 PM
I don't want to nitpick about this very nice tribute that you wrote. :yeah: But regarding the talent issue --- It's true that she wasn't recognized as a prodigy in her early years; perhaps this had a lot to do with her poor movement and fitness. Ultimately, however, I have to regard her ball-striking ability as a super talent. Robert Landsdorp did an excellent job with this, but if it was simply a matter of teaching, we'd have more women out there who could do what Davenport did. :lol: I think her immense talent has often been underrecognized. :)
I agree on everything you just said :)

I will like to add that imo she got the recognition she truly deserved towards the end of her career.

Kelly
Dec 14th, 2006, 05:34 PM
thanks for that.
one thing i said earlier today...yeah we will be sad she is calling a day but just imagine how happy she is right now :) im proud to be a lindsay fan...and always will be even if my love for the sport has dwindled!

cs0803
Dec 14th, 2006, 07:02 PM
Thanks for the great read! Lindsay will be sorely missed!
I wish her all the best of luck in the future!

Lindsayfanumber1
Dec 14th, 2006, 10:44 PM
Great!!
Lindsay :)
Thanks for the article!! It's amazind :)

pigam
Dec 14th, 2006, 10:59 PM
some journalists could learn frop this. :yeah:

TonyP
Dec 14th, 2006, 11:33 PM
This is a well written piece and while I agree with some of it and join in wishing Lindsay well, I think there are parts of this piece that need explanation or perhaps defending.

While noting that Lindsay was NOT the most athletically gifted player out there, you also ignore what has always been ignored when talking about Davenport, the factor that, in politics, is usually referred to as the elephant in the room. Lindsay Davenport was one of the largest women on the tour and because of that,she had the ability to smash balls in a manner most other girls did not.

Yes, some of that was countered by her lack of footspeed, but you don't need footspeed to smash aces or serve your way out of trouble, something she often did.

The second part I take issue with is the idea that Davenport should be praised for not following the "Diva" path of some of her contemporaries. The author here is not alone in that --she was praised by the press throughout her career for being a normal girl who didn't go the glamour route.

Well, sorry, but not everyone can travel that path, just as not everyone can grow up to be 6'3". There are some parts of this equation which are genetic and Davenport's height is one of those things. It served her well during her tennis career. Sharapova's is doing the same thing for her, plus the genetic thing is also working for her in the looks department, which is what does allow her to follow a different, more glamorous path.

Was Davenport the role model for Sharapova, Clijsters, etc. NOt sure I see any indication of that, since Sharapova is very much doing the Diva routine, using her looks whenever possible.

I personally am not much of a Sharapova fan, but don't see that she is hurting tennis, just as I don't see how LIndsay being a "normal girl" particularly helped. The fact is, the Sharapovas, the Kournikova's, the Hingis's and the Williams sisters sat more fans in the stands than Lindsay did.

Agassi, Nadal, even Marcello Rios all attracted attention, as did Nastassi and Connors and McEnroe before them.

I think its fine to be Lindsay Davenport, but I don't award her any points for not being Anna Kournikova or Martina Hingis or even Serena Williams.

The idea that any one player is superior to others because she is NOT colorful is a strange one to me. I rather prefer the idea that all these people have their own personalities, and as long as they don't kick children and small animals, or get caught using performance enhancing drugs, or committing contract killings, they all have their place in the sport.

Some are just more fun to watch than others.

Robbie.
Dec 16th, 2006, 10:21 PM
This is a well written piece and while I agree with some of it and join in wishing Lindsay well, I think there are parts of this piece that need explanation or perhaps defending.

While noting that Lindsay was NOT the most athletically gifted player out there, you also ignore what has always been ignored when talking about Davenport, the factor that, in politics, is usually referred to as the elephant in the room. Lindsay Davenport was one of the largest women on the tour and because of that,she had the ability to smash balls in a manner most other girls did not.

Yes, some of that was countered by her lack of footspeed, but you don't need footspeed to smash aces or serve your way out of trouble, something she often did.

The second part I take issue with is the idea that Davenport should be praised for not following the "Diva" path of some of her contemporaries. The author here is not alone in that --she was praised by the press throughout her career for being a normal girl who didn't go the glamour route.

Well, sorry, but not everyone can travel that path, just as not everyone can grow up to be 6'3". There are some parts of this equation which are genetic and Davenport's height is one of those things. It served her well during her tennis career. Sharapova's is doing the same thing for her, plus the genetic thing is also working for her in the looks department, which is what does allow her to follow a different, more glamorous path.

Was Davenport the role model for Sharapova, Clijsters, etc. NOt sure I see any indication of that, since Sharapova is very much doing the Diva routine, using her looks whenever possible.

I personally am not much of a Sharapova fan, but don't see that she is hurting tennis, just as I don't see how LIndsay being a "normal girl" particularly helped. The fact is, the Sharapovas, the Kournikova's, the Hingis's and the Williams sisters sat more fans in the stands than Lindsay did.

Agassi, Nadal, even Marcello Rios all attracted attention, as did Nastassi and Connors and McEnroe before them.

I think its fine to be Lindsay Davenport, but I don't award her any points for not being Anna Kournikova or Martina Hingis or even Serena Williams.

The idea that any one player is superior to others because she is NOT colorful is a strange one to me. I rather prefer the idea that all these people have their own personalities, and as long as they don't kick children and small animals, or get caught using performance enhancing drugs, or committing contract killings, they all have their place in the sport.

Some are just more fun to watch than others.

Hi Tony, sorry for not responding earlier but I have been very busy.

To answer your first point, I must say that I always considered an "elephant in the room" to be a non-revealed fact that, if revealed, would cast a different light on the point/argument being made. I don't think my omission is material in this way.

There is of course merit in the point. It reminds me of an interview I once heard with Michael Chang where he was asked whether in an ideal world he would be a few inches taller. He answered with something like "no, I play the way I am, because I am the way I am".

The same kind of thing could be said for a player like Amanda Coetzer.

I can imagine Lindsay giving a similar response.

Yet I don't think anyone would take me to task for claiming that while their naturally compact physiques allowed Chang and Coetzer to be among the quickest players ever, they nevertheless worked themselves to the bone to compensate for disadvantages that their physique endowed them with in other areas.

Certainly Lindsay's physique has brought benefits, as well as drawbacks (though I would say that in over emphasising her size your are probably underestimating the contribution of technique to her success). But the major point I was making was that before she dedicated herself to fitness, she wasnt getting the best out of herself. In the last ten years of her career she did. I don't see how acknowledging that she had natural advantages that allowed her to play the way she did, changes this point in any way.

As for your second point, I think you may be a tad oversensitive here and over compensating for your own biases.

As much as you might say that "it's ok to be Lindsay Davenport", we all know you have a preference for the "divas". Last year you even started a thread pondering whether Lindsay's personality made her a bad number one.

My observations on Davenport's personal traits are just that - observations.

One can read them as complimentary or derogatory depending on where one is coming from. I know some people who think conforming to some notion of "normal" is one of the biggest crimes in the world.

As for Davenport's normality being good or bad for the tour as a whole, I make no comment. Though it must be said that I did acknowledge that she was probably excessively "normal" for a pro athlete and that this held her back from greater success. I am not sure how that second last paragraph suggested that her normality made her superior to others - in fact it was the very opposite.

As for the debate about whether today's top players have followed the Davenport model I think the answer is a resounding yes. If you look at the top 4 players in the world there is no doubt that Mauresmo, Henin and Kuznetsova are Davenport-esque. And while you suggest that Sharapova has taken the diva path, I would object to that. While her looks have obviously given her opportunities not open to other players, she is still a tennis player first. She doesnt make controversial remarks for the sake of being controversial like Hingis or Williams. Her celebrity does not even approach that of Kournikova's.

And why wouldn't she avoid such a fate? You can argue back and forth about whether Kournikova-type celebrity is good or bad for the game at large, but I don't think anyone could seriously argue that it wasn't a disaster for her career. To a greater or less extent it is my view that Kournikova, Serena and Venus Williams and even Hingis suffered from their celebrity. Of course at the same time, as acknowledged, Davenport was distracted by her normality.

Players like Sharapova and Henin Hardenne seem to have a good balance.

.Andrew.
Dec 16th, 2006, 10:43 PM
Wow, amazing article! Very well written with detailed descriptions. Well done! :worship: Lindsay :sad:

GogoGirl
Dec 16th, 2006, 11:56 PM
Hey All,

Five words. "I'LL MISS YOU LINDSAY"

Sad to hear it - but life goes on. God bless her, husband and new baby.

Otherwise - I've been a little choked up since I read about it - but we knew it would happen eventually.

"THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES AND THE TAPES LINDSAY"

bmwofoz
Dec 17th, 2006, 04:45 AM
:worship: to Robbie for great article

The more I think about Davenport, the more impressed I become, lets for a moment go back to 1990 Two 14 years Jennifer and Lindsay, If asked out of these Two whom would have the bigger career, I think we all would have said Jennifer, but all these years later the answer to my mind as a Capriati fan is Lindsay's career has been bigger thats remarkable considering the hype that surrounded Capriati back then.

Leo_DFP
Dec 17th, 2006, 05:21 AM
I grew up with Lindsay! I'll miss her on the court so much and continue to watch her matches for the rest of my life. I can't see myself following tennis as much without her around. I'd rather just watch classic Lindsay.

gmak
Dec 17th, 2006, 09:41 AM
what a great article :worship:

Lindsay :sad: :sad: :sad:

TonyP
Dec 17th, 2006, 12:46 PM
Robbie:

First, let's see if we can keep the debate about the players and not about me and my biases.

Secondly, interesting you mention Chang. Remember he wound up using that long handled racket and I don't think it increased his footspeed. It was to get a little more extension on his serve. Amanda was a great player and very cute girl, but admitted she was disappointed by her slam results, but then in today's game, not many 5'2" girls win slams.

Power tennis is MOSTLY played by "Big babes" as Mary Carillo dubbed them and there were not many babes bigger than Lindsay Davenport.

About the diva factor. The four teen queens of the 90s often get branded with this tag, which has its origins as you probably know in grand opera and simply means a star or prima donna (first lady). It was neither good nor bad. Today, it is often associated with being a spoiled, high living, demanding personality. Of the four, the Williams sisters have turned out to be the party girls. Kournikova frankly is not all that much in the spotlight and I have no real idea how she even spends most of her time. Hingis was never much of a party girl. She lives, not in LA or Miami, but in a house on a Swiss lake. (Zurich is not an international hot spot, other than for banking.)
And she once turned down an invitation to attend the Academy Awards presentation on the arm of a nominated producer friend of her's, because she had a tennis tournament to play.

But things Hingis and her ilk did do was sit fans in the stands. I remember Martina and Anna, as the spice girls, selling out center court at LaCosta on a Tuesday night one year -- for a doubles match!

Lindsay never had that kind of charisma and that is something that to some extent is not her fault. Some of its is based on looks, some of it on personality.

My point was, there should be room in the sport for the big personalities as well as for the quiet girls. You don't have to tear down one kind of player to build up the other.

pooh14
Dec 17th, 2006, 01:02 PM
Hi Tony, sorry for not responding earlier but I have been very busy.

To answer your first point, I must say that I always considered an "elephant in the room" to be a non-revealed fact that, if revealed, would cast a different light on the point/argument being made. I don't think my omission is material in this way.

There is of course merit in the point. It reminds me of an interview I once heard with Michael Chang where he was asked whether in an ideal world he would be a few inches taller. He answered with something like "no, I play the way I am, because I am the way I am".

The same kind of thing could be said for a player like Amanda Coetzer.

I can imagine Lindsay giving a similar response.

Yet I don't think anyone would take me to task for claiming that while their naturally compact physiques allowed Chang and Coetzer to be among the quickest players ever, they nevertheless worked themselves to the bone to compensate for disadvantages that their physique endowed them with in other areas.

Certainly Lindsay's physique has brought benefits, as well as drawbacks (though I would say that in over emphasising her size your are probably underestimating the contribution of technique to her success). But the major point I was making was that before she dedicated herself to fitness, she wasnt getting the best out of herself. In the last ten years of her career she did. I don't see how acknowledging that she had natural advantages that allowed her to play the way she did, changes this point in any way.

As for your second point, I think you may be a tad oversensitive here and over compensating for your own biases.

As much as you might say that "it's ok to be Lindsay Davenport", we all know you have a preference for the "divas". Last year you even started a thread pondering whether Lindsay's personality made her a bad number one.

My observations on Davenport's personal traits are just that - observations.

One can read them as complimentary or derogatory depending on where one is coming from. I know some people who think conforming to some notion of "normal" is one of the biggest crimes in the world.

As for Davenport's normality being good or bad for the tour as a whole, I make no comment. Though it must be said that I did acknowledge that she was probably excessively "normal" for a pro athlete and that this held her back from greater success. I am not sure how that second last paragraph suggested that her normality made her superior to others - in fact it was the very opposite.

As for the debate about whether today's top players have followed the Davenport model I think the answer is a resounding yes. If you look at the top 4 players in the world there is no doubt that Mauresmo, Henin and Kuznetsova are Davenport-esque. And while you suggest that Sharapova has taken the diva path, I would object to that. While her looks have obviously given her opportunities not open to other players, she is still a tennis player first. She doesnt make controversial remarks for the sake of being controversial like Hingis or Williams. Her celebrity does not even approach that of Kournikova's.

And why wouldn't she avoid such a fate? You can argue back and forth about whether Kournikova-type celebrity is good or bad for the game at large, but I don't think anyone could seriously argue that it wasn't a disaster for her career. To a greater or less extent it is my view that Kournikova, Serena and Venus Williams and even Hingis suffered from their celebrity. Of course at the same time, as acknowledged, Davenport was distracted by her normality.

Players like Sharapova and Henin Hardenne seem to have a good balance.

hingis did make controversial remarks, but imo she never suffered from celebrity image. she was never into bad habits or caught partying at wrong times.

Robbie.
Dec 18th, 2006, 06:27 AM
Robbie:

First, let's see if we can keep the debate about the players and not about me and my biases.

Secondly, interesting you mention Chang. Remember he wound up using that long handled racket and I don't think it increased his footspeed. It was to get a little more extension on his serve. Amanda was a great player and very cute girl, but admitted she was disappointed by her slam results, but then in today's game, not many 5'2" girls win slams.

Power tennis is MOSTLY played by "Big babes" as Mary Carillo dubbed them and there were not many babes bigger than Lindsay Davenport.

About the diva factor. The four teen queens of the 90s often get branded with this tag, which has its origins as you probably know in grand opera and simply means a star or prima donna (first lady). It was neither good nor bad. Today, it is often associated with being a spoiled, high living, demanding personality. Of the four, the Williams sisters have turned out to be the party girls. Kournikova frankly is not all that much in the spotlight and I have no real idea how she even spends most of her time. Hingis was never much of a party girl. She lives, not in LA or Miami, but in a house on a Swiss lake. (Zurich is not an international hot spot, other than for banking.)
And she once turned down an invitation to attend the Academy Awards presentation on the arm of a nominated producer friend of her's, because she had a tennis tournament to play.

But things Hingis and her ilk did do was sit fans in the stands. I remember Martina and Anna, as the spice girls, selling out center court at LaCosta on a Tuesday night one year -- for a doubles match!

Lindsay never had that kind of charisma and that is something that to some extent is not her fault. Some of its is based on looks, some of it on personality.

My point was, there should be room in the sport for the big personalities as well as for the quiet girls. You don't have to tear down one kind of player to build up the other.

I guess I raised your biases because you were suggesting that I was relaying my bias in my original post, when I don't feel that I was.

Certainly, as a fan, I appreciate Lindsay's ability to remain so unaffected throughout all her success. However the fact of her unaffectedness is so peritinent that it would be a pretty poor review of her career not to acknowledge it, and how it set her apart from her peers, regardless of whether I personally appreciated this quality or not.

Apart from Davenport my three favourite players from the last decade would be Hingis, Capriati and Coetzer - all very different personalities, with very different stories and career trajectories. So obviously I am capable of appreciating - and indeed loving - a variety of players. And as you say in the last paragraph, this is how it should be.