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Lindsay Davenport on Court
Post-match interview Olympic Games 02/08/1996


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FINAL:  Lindsay Davenport df.  Aranxia Sanchez Vicario 7-6, 6-2

Lindsay holds Gold
Lindsay With her Gold medal after the medal ceromony

Q. How do you like your medal?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I love it. I haven't actually looked at it too much yet. I'm not going to take it off for a while, that's for sure.

Q. Your thoughts on the stand, National Anthem?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: That was definitely the most proud I've ever been in my life, not only for myself but for my family and for my country. For the last two weeks I've been hearing it so much from the other athletes, and only last night did I really think that I could hear it for myself. I realized that actually when Michael Johnson was on the stand and Dan O'Brien, I thought I'd like to hear this tomorrow so badly. When that ball went out I couldn't believe it on match point.

Q. Lindsay, was there anything you did differently than before which enabled you to beat Arantxa today?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I hadn't played her actually in about two and a half years. I was pretty confident going in even though I had never beaten her. I knew the match was going to be up to me. I was going to hit more winners, and I was going to hit more errors. But it depended really how I played. If I played well, I will have a chance to win it, if I didn't I was going to lose. So I kept my errors down, not way down, but down enough. And I just hit some great shots, I guess.

Q. On set point, when the ball just hit the net, did you start thinking things are going to go your way?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I couldn't believe it. That's definitely the luckiest I've ever gotten on such a big point. She hit a ball that was very low, and I actually didn't hit it high enough, and for some reason it hit the tape and went over. That was really lucky, the longer you play with her the more chances I had that I gave away, you can't do that.

Q. You kind of waved an apology to Arantxa, how heartfelt was that?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, obviously I was happy to win it but I've been on the receiving end of those. And the person doesn't really deserve it, to win it, but, what comes around goes around. I'm sure in matches she gets lucky, too.

Q. Lindsay, what does it mean to win at home?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Oh, this means everything to me. No matter what happens in my life I'll always be a gold medalist; especially my country, when the crowd was really for me. In other countries the crowd isn't with me that much ever. They really stuck by me today. And Arantxa had groups from Spain, so it made it more interesting. They were both cheering loudly for each side. It was great. My whole family was here and it just meant so much.

Q. You were somewhat friendly with Jennifer, and I wondered if you had talked to her and all that, her experience here?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I was friendly with her, but not friends in the terms that I would -- I never had gotten down to it, like how was Barcelona or how did it feel. So I can't really answer that.

Q. How much did you and your dad talk about here, two Olympians in the family, you have a chance to win a gold medal, which his team wasn't able to do?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: We never really actually talked about winning a medal, just about the experience of being there, of going through the opening ceremonies, and stuff like that. To win any medal was beyond my parents' expectations, for sure; beyond mine. There was a long time where I didn't think I was going to make this team, because we have so many players so highly ranked.

Q. Can you share what they said to you afterward when you went over?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, my mom and sister were crying really hard. And my other sister was really happy. And my dad was really happy. They just said, "Oh, we're so proud of you. And so glad we're here." And you're awesome or whatever. (Laughter.) They very rarely compliment me.

Q. Which sister was crying?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: My oldest one, Leiann.

Q. You looked very friendly here, very nice, but you got upset during the game.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: There's definitely two parts to me, and on the court I'm not very bubbly or friendly. I'm very hard on myself. I expect a lot out of myself and a lot of times when that doesn't happen I get upset. The last couple of matches I've really stayed in my self, not getting really upset and tried to stay positive and believed I could win.

Q. Lindsay, how much of this victory do you think was because it was more important to you this tournament?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: The Olympics, like I said, I've been looking forward to so long. Two years ago, actually, when I thought I was going to make it, at that time I was No. 1 in the United States, I was thinking about it so much. Overall, it seemed like it meant more to the women than to the men players, which is unfortunate. Most of the women, besides Graf, came out to support the event.

Q. Why do you think that is?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't know. I don't know, I think they take a little bit more pride, tennis players, in representing their countries. And being an experience, like the whole Olympic scene. A lot of male tennis players didn't want to go through that, stay in the Village. A lot of us were really excited about it.

Q. You stayed in the Village?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. About the first week the whole team did stay in the Village; once we started to play we stayed out here.

Q. You were talking about you hadn't played her in two and a half years. Was there a time back then you wouldn't have responded to losing the break early in the second set by coming back?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Three years ago I wouldn't have had the resolve to stay until the first set, tie-breaker, once it got to 6-All, winning and advancing to that stage. I'm a different player than I was six months ago, I believe. And everyone around has given me a lot of confidence this week. I don't know, it paid off.

Q. Lindsay, what do you think this kind of moment will do for your self-esteem and confidence in you as a person and also as a tennis player?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, this is a big tournament for myself. I know going out there that I can beat most of the players out there, almost -- I think all, but I don't want to sound too cocky. I have a shot against almost anyone if I'm playing well and focused. The biggest thing is I have to believe in myself and always stay positive on the court. And hopefully this will give me the confidence to do that in the future matches and always hang in there. This is an unbelievable confidence booter for the U.S. Open coming up.

Q. How much is the connection that you can now make between hard work that you started to make and the physical training, to the physical and mental training, now you can see the result of that. How encouraging is that?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It's really encouraging, I've lost two heartbreaking, matches, and I was rely upset. And I said what if I don't get another chance. And that pushed me to work a lot harder. I was getting tired today, but not nearly as tired as I had gotten a long time ago. I said you can keep doing this, keep going for your shots. It helps you mentally, it gives you the confidence to keep going.

Q. Did you watch Johnson get his medal on track or on TV?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: On TV, in a restaurant.

Q. Do you think that carried over to today?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think seeing all the athletes, the American athletes getting the gold and standing on the medal stand. I was at swimming live when some swimmers got the gold and --

Q. Do you start fantasizing?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Like I said, the first time I started thinking about it was actually last night when I saw the track and field athletes up there. And I thought I want to hear that tomorrow, I want to hear that tomorrow. The coach said, "I don't wanted to hear the Spanish Anthem tomorrow, so come on." I was laughing about that during the match. And it felt great when I heard it.

Q. You have won many games in big tournaments in the past. What's the real difference with this one?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I really had to work really hard this whole week. I played four players that were ranked above me, and I don't know what the real difference was here. I think that the crowd was really great this whole week to all the American players, and just really believing in myself. Billie Jean had told me in Fed Cup, which was three weeks ago, that she thought I could win the gold here, she thought this could be my tournament. And I'll never thank her enough for giving me that kind of confidence and support going in here.

Q. She also says you can be a No. 1 player, what do you think about that?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think a lot more of that now. No, I'm just kidding. Well, that's obviously way out of the league right now. I'm still 10. I have a long way to go. Hopefully, this is a stepping-stone to getting up there. But whatever happens, I'll always have the gold medal and I'm going to keep trying my hardest to do better and better. Who knows, luck has a lot to do with that. Faith has a lot to do with that. But I'll try my best to see how high I can get.

Q. You seemed to have the perfect gameplan today. Who helped you prepare it, the coach or Billie Jean?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: My coach, Robert Van'T Hof was here, also, and Billie Jean King. They made sure I was taking balls early, hitting them on the rise, even if I'm missing them. They said you're not going to outrun her, you have to go for it. You're going to make errors, we'd rather see you lose the match rather than outsteady her. I missed a couple in the beginning; came in the net a few times to mix it up, and just kept going for my groundstroke.

Q. Where were you at four years ago, in terms of your mind? Did you see yourself being an Olympian in four years?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No. No, four years ago I was playing the juniors. When Jennifer won, I thought that was great. I remember watching her win on match point and her on the medal stand and Gigi and Mary Joe winning the doubles. And I thought that was great then. I didn't think I would be there, for sure.

Q. Did you know Mary Joe was in the stands?


Q. Is that an emotional lift for you?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, Mary Joe and Gigi were there, they were cheering me on. And Gigi was giving her Puerto Rican yell very loud, which helped me a lot. I could hear her and I was laughing. It was nice seeing Mary Joe. She was not feeling too well after the singles match. Having the whole team there, Billie, my parents, my coach, Robert, everyone, the whole group was great.

Q. Can you imagine a Grand Slam meaning this much to you?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't know. This just means a lot because it was in the States, the crowd was really loud and you hear your anthem. I couldn't tell you what it's like to win a Grand Slam, so I don't know.

Q. Are you going to play again before the Open?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I'm playing the LA tournament in nine days.

Q. What about Sidney?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: We talked about that earlier, the team, how the team that was here really wanted to go back to Sydney. Gigi said I don't know if I'll be playing, but maybe I'll work for you guys. Hopefully we'll all be back in Sydney.

Q. Lindsay, would you say this was the match of your life, the best you've ever played?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: For sure, in such a big match. Like I said, I was going to make a lot of errors out there, and I knew that. So if you look at the statistics it probably doesn't look like that great a match. But it was such a good match to play and such an important occasion. Like I said, I thought I won it and I played very well to win it.

Q. Do you feel like California weather has this dense heat?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I thought it was hot. In California we don't have humidity. I can take the sun or humidity, but both is pretty tough. It definitely could have gotten much hotter, which thankfully it didn't. But hopefully this weather is preparing me for the rest of the summer tournaments.

Q. Did your dad win a medal?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: No, he got fifth, I believe.

Q. Do you think this win will help you in the future to make a step and to be a better player?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I hope so. Who knows what it's going to do, but it for sure will give me a lot of confidence. Hopefully I'll believe in myself a little more when I'm in big matches in Grand Slams or in other tournaments. And like I said I hope this is a step up the ladder. Ask me in four years, and then I can tell you. I don't know, though.

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