I'm so sorry it taking me so long but I can't type very fast here is the first half. I will post the other half tomorrow I promise
Hope you all have a great New Year Party <img src="graemlins/wavey.gif" border="0" alt="[Wavey]" />
<br />Lindsay Davenport has a tendency to swear. Not just the odd curse when she stubs her toe or bangs her head, but full-on-four-letter expletive that turn the air blue and shock people.
“I used to swear a lot more than I do now”. she tells ace. “My dad has a filthy mouth. I grew up with it. I have the foulest mouth. I used to swear incessantly. Its terrible. The slightest thing went wrong and I’m like ‘Shit’. But I definitely want to stop. I’d say that over the last few years I’ve gotten a lot better. I’ve started to cure my habit. I think I originally admitted to swearing a lot so that I would force myself to stop.“
This is all part of Lindsay’s contradictory personality. She has a reputation of being the nice-girl-next-door, the player everyone gets on with, the person who always has a kind word to say about everyone else. Yet scratch the surface and you can see that she has a mean streak in her.
“People say ‘Oh, you’re so nice’,” she laughs. “Honestly, I can be a total bitch. When I’m playing I get so Pissed off. On court, for sure , you have to have that mean streak in you. My birth sign is Gemini, which is the twins, or two different personalities. I definitely think I have that. The person which you see on court is definitely not the same person you see off it.”
Off court she is almost always smiling and friendly, but you get the impression there’s a permanent sign around her neck that says ‘Don’t mess with me!’
And if you meet her, messing with her is the last thing on your mind. She stands at an imposing 6ft 2 and a half inches tall, in a 175lb frame. And until she sent on her now infamous diet and fitness regime five years ago she was even 30lb heavier than that.
Yet despite her strong personality and physical presence, she always remains surprisingly humble, “I try to keep a very low profile,” she says, “ I don’t really like too much attention and I’d rather not be noticed, saying that, though, it’s not shyness I have. It’s just that I’m not one of those people who loves to open a newspaper of magazine and see myself all the time. I don’t like that at all. I prefer to play my tennis which I love, and with which I’ve been blessed”. When you think that Lindsay is now at the top of her game for the fifth time ( she was first world No.1 for 17 weeks in 1998-99, had another five weeks in 1999, had two more stretches in 2000 and ascended again last November), you can’t help admiring her genuine modesty. “Results should speak for themselves, she says firmly, “ I’ve always had the opinion that if you’re too big a talker, then most of it is hot air anyway. I’ve always thought that if somebody has to go around telling everybody how good they are, then they really don’t believe it themselves. I really can’t believe some of the things that some of the other players say,” Lindsay’s humility is very endearing. She became the national No1 in her age group whilst still at school, but kept her achievement a secret from most of her fellow pupils. “Basically I didn’t tell anyone that I played tennis,” she says, as if it were totally normal for American teenagers to play down their athleticism. “Obviously my friends knew. But I’m not the sort of person to say ‘Oh hi, I’m a really great tennis player’. So I never brought it up. Then when I turned pro at 16 I think I beat Gabriela Sabatini (a former US Open champion) and ended up in the papers, so people at school found out that way. I wasn’t embarrassed, though. Just not too boastful, I guess.”
Of all the nine women to top the WTA rankings since they began in 1975, Lindsay Davenport is probably the least famous. She says she’s fairly well known in her native southern California and other parts of the USA (“I’m not that famous but some people definitely recognise me” <img src="wink.gif" border="0"> , but she’s hardly a Hingis, a Kournikova or a Williams,
“I’ve come at a time when there’s more than one or two great players,” she suggests, “In the 1980s and early 1990s you only really had Monica and Steffi, but now there are so many [great] players. It’s really the first time that you have about seven players going into a Grand Slam with a legitimate shot at winning it, Its not as predictable any more, which has made everyone slightly famous.”
Lindsay is well aware that she could have earned a lot more money through sponsorship deals and endorsement contracts, But- believe it or not - she’s all the more happy for not having sold herself down that path. “I’ve always wanted to concentrate on the main thing, which is tennis, “she asserts. “ I think I’ve stayed pretty true to that and my tennis has benefited as a result, You see players that do everything commercial that is put on a plate, but then they have to worry more about their results. You know, I’ve made more money than I’ll probably ever have to spend in my lifetime. Maybe I’d have made more if I’d have been more high-profile, but money’s not that important to me.”
Indeed, over her nine year pro career, tournament prize money has so far swelled Lindsay’s bank balance by much more than sponsorship or endorsement income. Since turning pro in 1993 she has earned more than £14 million in prize money. Although there is no official figure for her off-court earnings, it’s a lot less.
Perhaps that’s why Lindsay has always been such a vociferous campaigner for women to receive as much prize money as men at the Grand Slam events (at the moment, only the US and Australian Opens give both sexes an equal share of the loot, whilst overall, the ATP offers far more money than the WTA Tour). And, as with all her opinions, her arguments for equal prize money are considered and well thought out.