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Lindsay Davenport on Court
Post-match Interview US Open 12/09/1998

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Lindsay kisses US Open trophey
Lindsay kisses the trophey of her first Grand Slam title - the US Open

Final:  Lindsay Davenport df.  Martina Hingis 6-3, 7-5
 

Q. Was it everything you envisioned?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. It was amazing. You never know what your response or your reaction's going to be. You can't put into words how much it means, playing for so many years and being a pro for so many years, and this being the goal always. It seriously was the greatest feeling you can experience being a professional athlete.

Q. What does it mean to you to be the first American-born player since Chris Evert, since '82, to win this tournament?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It means a lot. I mean, a lot of people have said for a lot of years, "Oh, American tennis, especially women's tennis, there's no hope, there's no future." Really, I think it's looking better than ever. It's a tremendous accomplishment for me to win here, and I think there's going to be many more American champions in the next year with the Williams, so many great players coming up. No one's done it in a long time and I'm proud be the first one.

Q. On TV you talked about how you woke up in the middle of the night. Can you talk a little more about that?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I woke up once in the middle of the night and it took me a while to fall back asleep. I knew this was going to be my time if I could play well. And I knew I was playing well. I knew I needed to take advantage of this opportunity. You don't know how many you get to get back there. I wanted to play well. I wanted to be able to thank everybody. You know, there's so many people that are important to you over your career. But really I was just more excited than anything. I wanted to get out there and play. I'm so glad it was consecutive days, I didn't want a day off to think about everything. Really, just knowing that I played well, I could take it.

Q. You were up 4-2 in the second set. Martina put on an awesome rally, then you came back. Could you talk about that?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. I was up 4-2, serving. I think I had a point maybe to go up 5-2. That's when she kind of stopped making her errors. She was running me around an awful lot then. She really kept back on her errors. I started to try and go for it more. Definitely some nerves crept in. I got down 4-5, but I was able to break at Love, get my footing back in the match and just playing well. I don't think I let anything bother me today. I was very focused. I was very calm. And, you know, the sight of the end of the tunnel of winning the Grand Slam was what kept me going, not getting upset. I was able to do it.

Q. What was working for you today, and when did you know she was in trouble?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I knew I had to attack her. I knew I had to keep the ball deep, really go for my shots, attack her second serve, stuff like that. When I got up two breaks in the first set, I knew I was playing well. You always want to feel like you have all the shots and you're making them and you're playing well. And I felt like that once the first set got going, I knew if I continued, I could still win.

Q. You were the Olympic champion in 1996. Do you think that accomplishment is overlooked? Does it bother you?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: It was maybe overlooked a lot. That's fine with me. I think I'm just maybe even more proud of that than I am winning here. It's a tremendous accomplishment. Unfortunately, people in tennis don't recognize it. All the women played that year, with the exception of Graf. It was a great, great win. If I could only win two big ones, I'd pick the Olympics and the US Open over and over again. You know, everything's just worked out perfectly.

Q. Robert said a year ago you might have gotten that dropshot, two years ago, you definitely would not have gotten that dropshot.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: What does he know (laughter)? No, I mean, that's some of the reasons I've gotten better, moving better. Yeah, it shows up mostly on dropshots, that I can get to them now, also on other balls I used to not be able to get. I'm getting in position better later in a match. Really, all the hard work has paid off, you know, getting to balls, winning points, still being able to serve well late in the match. All that kind of stuff made me win the match today.

Q. How does it feel to be in the same category as Wills Moody and Graf?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I didn't know that stat coming in. It's tremendous. I mean, both of these titles mean everything to me. Like I said, I don't care if I don't win another one, I've got these two and I'll cherish them forever. Really, it's tremendous, a fabulous accomplishment. You couldn't ask for two greater champions to be. And hopefully I can win some more Grand Slams like they did. If I can't, you know, I've got it.

Q. Are you just scratching the surface of what you can do in this game?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I hope so. I mean, I think I still have a lot to improve on. People didn't give me a shot a couple years ago to win a Grand Slam. I think I've proved everybody wrong by improving a lot the last couple years. I don't think necessarily I'm done. I think with more hard work, I can definitely get better at some aspects of my game. I think mentally I'm very much stronger now, and that's one of the big differences. But I hope I can get better. It's been exciting to see myself improve over the last couple years and to be able to do different things. That's why you play, to see if you can get better. I'm going to keep trying to do that.

Q. Given how hard you've worked on your fitness, was that the perfect ending, that somebody tried a dropshot?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I guess (laughter). I mean, after a pretty long point, too. Also, you know, playing a good match point. That's so great. My first Grand Slam final, my first match point, and I think I played a great point. Getting the dropshot, hitting a winner, everything was just perfect. But really, the two weeks have been great. I didn't lose a set. I played great tennis. I don't think I ever really got down on myself, which has been a big thing. I was able to really, in my eyes, act like a champion and really win the title.

Q. Earlier in the week we talked a lot about the McGwire situation, how he was able to hit his 61st home run on his dad's birthday. Tell us how great it is to win your first Grand Slam on your mom's birthday.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, it's great. It's just a coincidence, obviously. But on Thursday is when I was talking, I was like, "Oh, my gosh, birthday is Saturday." I kind of forgot for a couple of days. It's just a great story. She's the one that used to drive me hours and hours and hours to go practice, since I was six, you know, when I started playing tennis. It's great. It's great to have them all here. If I had been in any other Grand Slam final, my family wouldn't have been able to come. Tonight we can go out, celebrate my mom's birthday, obviously my win, and just all be together.

Q. Speaking of celebrations, Hingis said she wanted you to celebrate long and hard, and in particular she suggested maybe having some saki so you'd be in bad shape tomorrow.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I probably won't be a hundred percent tomorrow, I'll tell you that now (laughter). Natasha is going to have to hold me up a bit. No, I mean, I think I'll be able to just relax tomorrow and have a great time, enjoy the doubles final. You know, who knows what happens. This only happens maybe, you don't know how many times in your career. I plan to enjoy the next couple days a lot.

Q. How much do you appreciate now the fact that your mom made sure that you went to your high school prom, your high school graduation, did a lot of things other players at your age didn't do? How important now, looking back, were those things to you?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I mean, both my parents were instrumental in just being normal. I think also having two older sisters helps a lot where, you know, both were out of college or going to college, and telling me, you know, "You can't leave school, that's ridiculous," stuff like that. I never wanted to. I loved school, I loved all my friends, I loved being able to go home and having something to do, and seeing different friends, all of that stuff. It's just a tribute to the whole family. Really, they've been great. They've made me keep the person I am, be humble. I don't come home and they go, "You're so great, you won a tournament." They don't tell me, "You're going to be 1." We're a normal family, we like to have normal dinners. That's what I love.

Q. Is there a difference in Martina's game from last year?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I think last year she was almost unbeatable. I think maybe confidence carries you a long way, as I've learned this summer, with myself. But I think, you know, you have to be aggressive to beat Martina. You can overpower her. I think that's really the only way she loses. I don't think she likes to play hard hitters. I think -- I don't think she was thrilled to play me in the finals. I think that we've played so many times, I've beaten her a number of times. I knew if I went after it, I could maybe win.

Q. Was there a moment in that match when you thought, "This is destiny. I will win this"?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, and then I got broken and it was 4-All (laughter). That went out the window pretty fast. You know, I thought so. I thought, "My gosh, I might win this." Then you go off track so quickly. Luckily I was able to get it back together. You know, after I won yesterday, last night, I knew if I played well, you know, when you get on a streak and you're confident that you can win. I thought that today could be my day. You don't get -- you might not ever get an opportunity to be back here. I remember Billie Jean telling me that before the Olympic final. I talked to Mary Joe this morning. I think she was great. She told me, "I always thought I'd be back there a million times, and I never did. You've got to take advantage of this one and win it." It was great advice, and I wanted to do that when I got out there.

Q. Can you talk about what went through your mind, if anything, at the changeover at 5-4? Were you talking to yourself a lot?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I wasn't, and that's one of the reasons I was able to get back into it. Stay calm. I've broken her before in the match, I could break her again. Keep going for my shots. I think I have got a little bit bad shot selection choice, I was getting a little bit tired. As soon as I got down, I don't know how to describe it, I wasn't tired anymore. Maybe it was nerves that make you get tired. As soon as -- I played a good first two points, then I went on to break her. You know, I thought then, "I better wrap it up in two sets."

Q. If she is lacking a little bit in confidence, how does that show in Hingis' game out there?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I think -- I don't think she's as aggressive as she was last year. I think last year she used to maybe step into a few more balls. It's hard to compare a little bit. But I felt like I had a lot of time today to set up and go for my shots. A lot of times before, you don't have that opportunity against Martina. But she's always tough. It's amazing. For her, she isn't playing great, she still gets to the final. She's always going to be a tough opponent. But I feel like if I go after my game, then I have a good shot.

Q. Where did this confidence cloud that you're riding begin this summer?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think it's just a great summer.

Q. Must have started somewhere.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. I think, you know, getting even to the semifinals of the French, and everyone criticized me for playing a bad match in the semis. I looked at it as such a positive. I did so well at the French. I don't like red clay. You know, I thought I was hitting the ball well. Again at Wimbledon, I thought I was doing well. Once Wimbledon ended, I just couldn't wait for the hard court season to begin. Spent a couple of weeks practicing. Winning three tournaments in a row and just being mentally tough and winning close matches and staying positive, just kind of carried its way all the way through the summer.

Q. You said your elbow had been bothering you. What did it feel like today? How did that go into your shots? Did you just use the motivation to hit it as hard as possible?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: The first week it was really bad. I was a little bit worried, you know. It was great. I mean, I served well, and I got first serves in. Yesterday, like I said, was the first day that I felt like it was 90, 95 percent and I wasn't scared. Today, it was almost a hundred percent, which is so great. I mean, it really -- it was really kind of scary the first week. I was able to come through it. It got better as the week went on. And today it felt great. I was able to go for my serves, which I needed to do. I was able to -- I never thought about it. So I think it's healed.

Q. Would you say this is the hardest that you hit today?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: The hardest what?

Q. The hardest you were able to hit the ball, most pace.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I don't know. That was also a mind set that I wanted to be that kind of player today. I wanted to lose, you know, making 60 unforced errors, but going for it, or I wanted to win by playing well and hitting great shots. That's what I did. I didn't want to be out there and just getting the ball back in. That's the mind set I took. So I think I was just probably mentally more aggressive than in maybe other matches.

Q. Were you aware of that rule that if one of the player's hats fall off, you play two?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah. That's been a rule for years. And it's happened -- I mean, it doesn't happen a lot, but it is a rule.

Q. Do you think it's just?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I mean, it's not like I went like this and threw it off to lose the point. If it happens again, I lose the point. I think one warning is probably fair. I mean, people have balls fall out of their pockets, you know, I think one warning is fair, and then it happens. People have done it against me before, and it's just the way it is forever.

Q. Do you feel like a complete person now that you've won a Slam?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Not really. I mean, to me, it's been a great accomplishment. But I always said that if I never won one, I'd still be a great person and I'd still like myself and I'd still, you know, keep on playing tennis. For my career, I feel like it's a great, great script. And I think, you know, not a lot of people ever picked me to win a Grand Slam. I feel like I've worked so hard to get where I'm at. And I feel like I'm such a better player than I was two years ago, and it's so exciting to see in my game, and just to see the results. I think I'm more of a complete player. But I think I've always been a pretty complete person.

Q. What is your next big goal? Is it to be No. 1? Is it to win one of the other particular Slams?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Gosh, I mean, I haven't thought about that one bit. Just to win a Grand Slam has always been a goal of mine. I've never thought about the rankings at all, because it's just such a complex system, almost 52 weeks, who knows what happens with players from last year. But, you know, I've got some more tournaments coming up this fall. I'm going to try and keep it going, take some time off now. Then really, I have no idea what my goals are right now.

Q. Have you had a chance to buy your mom a gift?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Not yet, no. I don't think she'll be mad if she doesn't get one tonight. She'll get one the next few days.

Q. One of the biggest souvenirs has been the WTA calendar, glamour shots. Kournikova, the poster girl. Is this marketing, are you comfortable with it, do you think it's necessary?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I think it's great. I think the interest now is back in women's tennis. For so many years when I played, it was like -- we always -- women's tennis was no good, there's no players. I think it's so great. Women's tennis is so exciting now with all the young players, with all the older players doing well. It's great to see it grow. I mean, I hope that my generation of players now -- I don't think we can ever do as much as Billie Jean and the older players did before. But I hope we grow it even more so in 20 years it's just as big or bigger.

Q. I'm saying the aspect of promoting the glamour?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: That's fine.

Q. Did you talk to Billie Jean at all?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I've talked to her over the last few days. She's been great. I mean, she gave me a long speech before the Olympics, the finals. And today she just kind of winked, she goes, "You know what to do. I don't need to talk to you anymore." That meant just as much to me. She just knew I could do it and believed in me.

Q. You said yesterday that nobody ever called you a prodigy or expected greatness from your game. How much sweeter does that make this, if at all?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: You know, I think it makes it sweeter for me because I think I've had like three or four people in my career that have stuck with me the whole time and believed in me since day one. You know, a lot of people don't believe in you. I think I did this with the help of a couple of people, with hard work, and just believing in myself, not listening to what others said.

Q. Did you drive yourself here today?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: That's such a like topic of conversation. But, no, I did not. I rested, I drank water because my it would be hot. Saturday's no traffic, so my coach can drive then (laughter).

Q. In this documentary about you before the semifinals, I saw it on the television, in which you spoke about the fact that having a balanced life is very important to you, that kids who want to make it only tennis, want to be No. 1 at all costs, they should look for other role models. How important is this issue of attitude?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, I think there can be a number of different types of role models. And definitely some players are role models that their goal is to be No. 1 and to win Grand Slams. For me, it's important to enjoy everything, to do the best you can, and to try and win tournaments. But if you don't, it's fine. You know, my life's not going to end. But I think kids need a number of different people to look up to. Different kids have different personalities. Sure, some kids look up to me. Sure, some kids look up to Venus, some kids look up to Martina. There's all different types of attitudes that are out there. That's what I think is great.

Q. When did you first sense in years past that you would have a chance to win a Grand Slam?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Well, you know, last year when I got to the semis was a huge breakthrough. Even though I lost in the semis, I kind of got off the hump of the quarterfinals and the Round of 16. I knew then, you know, I'd gotten more confidence in Grand Slams, that I could do it, whether it be the next one or whenever. Especially after this summer, I knew that this could be my tournament. I tried not to think about it. I tried to be very relaxed and just play tennis. It happened to be it. You never know when you get on these kind of rolls and have so much confidence. But really, starting to do well in Grand Slams, even the semis of the French, semis of the Australian, all of that kind of plays in your mind, and it gives you -- opportunity I got to get back to the semifinals. I played a great match yesterday. I think that was because of losing before.

Q. Could you give us some idea of the hard work you put in on and off the court?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Probably not (laughter). Just -- I mean, all of this also, you know, with my coach Robert who has been there with me every step of the way since I've even been a professional. He spent hours with me running sprints. In the beginning I used to complain a lot, "Oh, I don't want to do it." Now it's really funny, because now I love to do it. Now I love to go out there and run on a Saturday, go do different stuff. It's kind of just the change of attitude that's developed in the last couple years. But just spending -- I'm not a big believer in hitting six hours a day, four hours a day, whatever. I mean, I hit about three hours a day, but really then try and run a lot, just try and stay in good shape and really try and work on the off-court stuff as much as I can.

Q. What sort of stuff do you do off the court?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Just a lot of sprints on the court, going to the weight room like three or four times a week, doing like quick running drills. I mean, most of the attention has been focused on sprints, nothing like long distance running, just stuff to try and get me faster and playing a lot.

Q. You probably used to read, you'd get to a quarterfinal, they would say, "Lindsay has the shot, the power, but she may lack mobility." Obviously you don't lack mobility anymore.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Yeah, I've worked hard to not do that. I think it was important for myself to really want to do it for myself. When I was 18, if someone had said, "You should go run two hours a day. " I would have been like, "Yeah, right." When I got older, I was -- I wanted to do it. That was the difference. I think for me that's the way it worked. I don't think I could have handled someone else telling me I needed to do it. Robert has been very patient all the years, making sure that it was the right balance. Just running a lot of sprints. I'm going to always have to do that to be fast. If I stopped today, I'd be slow in two weeks. I always have to work on that even when I'm not playing tennis. If I take days off this week, I guarantee you Wednesday or Thursday I'll be out running.

Q. You said yesterday that when somebody asked you about coming to the net, you're like, "Maybe after a year." It seemed that when you came to the net, you got a lot (inaudible) overnight.

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Overnight, yeah. Well, it's tough. I mean, I don't feel that comfortable up there in covering the net. But one of my game strategies was to hit the ball hard and try and come in and take balls early. If she passes you every time, that's great. So I tried to do that, and really I just tried to be aggressive, close the net, just go for it. I don't volley like a Martina Navratilova or anything like that, but I was just trying to get in there, close the net and put shots away. I don't want to get into long, long rallies with her. I did, I volleyed great. I think I was more confident up there today because I knew that's what I had to do, just try to take advantage of some short balls that I got.

Q. You had talked Wednesday about having watched McGwires's home run, kind of getting emotional in your hotel room. When you saw him and his son, did it make you pause, consider your own relationship with your mother, maybe in that kind of situation how you two might react together?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I mean, not really. He was there on the field as soon as it happened when he hit home base. I had the same reaction. If I see something great, I'd probably cry. To me, this was the greatest thing. I cried a lot on the court. People have different ways of showing emotion. But really, by the time I saw my whole family in the locker room, it was more happiness again. It wasn't so much tears. Just really enjoying everything together. Just having everybody here is great, knowing that they were with me from day one, supported me always. I don't know. It's hard to describe.

Q. Was Harry Marmion crying?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: Harry is so great. He was the first one that came up to me, and he was crying. The USTA has been so great. They get criticized a lot. For me, they've been there since I've been ten years old, giving me a lot of support with the national team, taking me away to the junior tournaments. I met Lynne Rolley through them, who has been an unbelievable part of my life for seven years. Maybe even longer. Eight or nine. You know, Harry, I love Harry, he's great. He just came up to me, he was crying. He goes, "I've never been so proud." Then he made me cry. USTA, I think they're great. I think Harry's great, I think Judy, the next president, is great, the first female. It's going to be a great year next year.

Q. Lynne, what role did she play?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: She's played a lot of different roles in my life, the first one being of a strict coach, helping me, traveling. And over the years has developed into almost like -- you know, a best friend, a second mother. I mean, anything you can imagine. I call her more now about other stuff than tennis stuff. She's always been there. She's come up to me and goes like, "God, what are you doing on your serve? Just throw it in front." That's all she'll say, something like that. She'll tell me anything straight, you know, "You look terrible." "You look great." The kind of honesty I like from the people that work with me.

Q. What do you think Lindsay Davenport would be doing if Lansdorp hadn't taken you back in?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: He's been great, too. He was so sweet. He took the red-eye last night to watch me in the final. Robert was my coach for five years when I first started playing tennis. I asked him to give me lessons. He said no. I cried. "I'll teach you." I was only eight. I wouldn't be here out without him. Lynne, both Roberts, they've been the reason I'm here. Robert Lansdorp was the first one to teach me the groundstrokes, and to hit the ball hard always.

Q. You and your mom live together. How did that come about?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: I mean, I moved out of the house right when I graduated from high school, and lived on my own for about two and a half years in Newport Beach in an apartment. I love Newport Beach. When my parents got divorced, I decided to buy a house. You know, it's great to live with my mom. We have two dogs that she takes care of when we're gone, they're being taken care of obviously by someone else now. But it's been great. I mean, there's so much freedom. We have a friendship relationship. I mean, I've never told her what time I'll be home at night or anything like that. It's great to have company, it's great to be able to come back to a house that you love. You know, have your family around, because you're gone so much.

Q. How gracious was Martina to you about losing?

LINDSAY DAVENPORT: She's always been fantastic. I mean, obviously it's a tough loss, but she's always been one player that to me has always been very nice, very funny, very gracious. She shook my hand today, "Too good." I think she's great. She's always been so nice to me, so outgoing. You know, I've always been happy for her when she's won. I mean, I'm sure she's disappointed, but I'm sure she's somewhat happy for me.

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