Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - Been There, Done that, Serve 'em Up!
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Been There, Done that, Serve 'em Up! 07/19/2007 - 10:10 AM

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Rosie Crews and the World Team Tennis crew hosted a conference call with Lindsay Davenport yesterday, regarding Lindsay's return to pro tennis. She will be representing the Newport Beach Breakers in a WTT match against the Sacramento Caps on Saturday night, July 21st. This, despite that fact that just six weeks ago Lindsay gave birth, via C-section and three weeks prematurely, to a baby boy that she and husband John Leach named Jagger (no, it has nothing to do with Mick or any of the other Rolling Stones).

Lindsay was always a moody, self-conscious girl - remember how, at the U.S. Open last year, she admitted that formally declaring a retirement, a la Andre Agassi, was something she simply could not imagine doing (because of the attention it would bring on her)?  Good thing. If she had used the "R" word, it would make her current enthusiasm for playing again seem downright bizarre. I'm going to post the whole tele-conference transcript below, so you can judge her state of mind for yourself. To me, it sounds like all she needed to do was take a little break to drop a calf and, having dealt with that, she sees the world in a whole new light. It actually sounds like she's having fun hitting tennis balls.

Yet - at one point in the tele-conference, Lindsay was asked: At what point do you think you and John would be putting a racquet in his (Jagger's) hands?

She replied: "If it's up to me, at no time. I think probably another sport. But who knows. Whatever the kid wants to do, he'll obviously be able to do it."

Hmmmm . . . I take this to mean that Lindsay would rather that her son not play tennis (rather than that she would at no time be putting a racquet Jagger's hands, in an attempt to make him play). This is typical tennis-bashing by tennis players who, quite frankly, couldn't be kept away from the sport they purport to have come to loathe by a mule team. I don't mean to make a big deal out of it, but it's just one of those funny things you notice - when did a tennis player just come out and say: Yeah, I'd love it if my kid followed in my footsteps! This job is a piece of cake. Everybody kisses your butt, you make more money than God (about this, Lindsay especially knows!), and you never even have to make your own bed. Sure, losing blows. But you get over it. Duh! Of course I want my kid to be a tennis player!

Aw, fair enough. Let tennis players enjoy their moments of martyrdom. But it makes me wonder, what will happen when Champagne Kim Clijsters (just check her website for full details: I'm gettingmarriedandhatetennisandI'mdyingtohavekidsandIflovepuppies.com) has her first kid? Is she going to come rushing out of the hospital, still in her maternity gown with that frizzy blonde hair corkscrewing all over the place, screaming, "Get me Serena!"

I'd be all for that. And on that front, I have some advice for all you girls: There's no need to break off with tennis like the game was a former boyfriend - controlling, demanding, keeping you from being you - just because the guy whom you want to father your kids pops onto the radar. It's okay to still like tennis when you're about to get married and start a family; it isn't like, infidelity, or anything, comprende? 

Lindsay is about to show  you that you can have it both ways. So resist all that drama-queen stuff; stop all this soul-searching and phony-baloney agonizing. You can have it both ways and, come to think of it, if you're Lindsay or Champagne Kimmy you can probably have it three or four ways, at the same time. Because Lindsay and Kimmy are proven champs, each of them is capable of beating most of the women on tour tour not just after she's  had a C-section, but probably while she's having one.

Oh, and less than a day after Lindsay announced that she's playing Team Tennis, I received an ecstatic email from Matt Van Tuinen, who is the PR guy for Pilot Pen Classic, a US Open tune-up tournament played in New Haven, Ct. Matt wrote:

Attached and below you will find a release regarding the fact that three-time Grand Slam champion and former World No. 1 Lindsay Davenport has committed to play  at Pilot Pen Tennis.  Davenport, whojust five and a half weeks ago gave birth to a baby boy, will make her return to the Tour at the Pilot Pen and play doubles with fellow American Lisa Raymond.

This is extremely exciting news for us, and I am sure fans will want to know about this development. . .

Geez, Lindsay, you ask for a couple of wild cards and who knows, we could see you in the WTA Championships! You've got to love the enthusiasm here. I must say, the turnaround has caught me totally by surprise. Here's the entire transcript of her WTT conference call, which contains another first - a former No.1 player actually admitting that she/he watched recent tournaments and actually enjoyed the experience!

   
MEDIA NOTEJust six weeks after giving birth to her first child, American tennis star Lindsay Davenport returns to the tennis courts for a WTT match.  The July 21 match in Sacramento against the Caps’ rival, the Newport Beach Breakers, will also be Davenport’s first WTT match since 2003 when she played for the Breakers.  This time around, Lindsay will be playing for the Sacramento Capitals.

    ROSIE CREWS (WTT):  We have Lindsay Davenport who is coming back to World TeamTennis.  She's been busy the last six weeks taking care of little Jagger.  She'll tell us about that.  She's coming back to play World TeamTennis with Sacramento on Saturday night (July 21).  This is the first time Lindsay is back in World TeamTennis since 2003.  She actually started her WTT career with the Caps in '93. Let's take some questions for Lindsay.

Q.  How are you feeling?

  LD:  I'm feeling great.  Thank you so much.

Q.  Tell me about when you started to play after the birth of your child?  How many weeks did you sit out?

LD:  You know, I had to have a cesarean section with him, so I was out not doing much the first two weeks obviously, then slowly just started to do some stuff about maybe when he was about two and a half weeks, just kind of getting more active on my doctor's permission.

You know, all of a sudden it's been  things have healed really quickly.  I felt really great.  I've had a great recovery.  So since about two and a half weeks, I've been pretty active, been able to practice now the last week at a very high percentage.  Glad there were no complications.

Q.  Did TeamTennis contact you about playing Saturday and why did you decide to play so soon after having a baby?

LD:  Yeah, you know, Ilana (Kloss, WTT CEO/Commissioner) is a friend of mine.  We have been obviously in contact through my pregnancy.  She had asked me in May, Is there any way you would want to come back and play a TeamTennis match?  You know, originally Jagger was not due until July 2nd, so I told her it probably wasn't going to be likely, knowing when the TeamTennis season was.  But because of some complications we had with him, he actually came obviously three weeks early on June 10th.

I talked to her shortly after and said, I'm feeling great.  You know, I think I'll be ready to do it.  I looked at it really as kind of a fun challenge to see, you know, if I could come back so quickly and kind of get me a little kick in the pants to get back being active, you know, being healthy and all of that stuff.

Q.  You talked to your doctor about it, I assume.  What was his or her reaction?

LD:  Yeah, fine.  Normally you go in every four weeks for your post op.  I see my doctor every week.  My husband takes me there to make sure I'm totally doing well and following orders.  Great.  I mean, everything I've done has been with her permission.  She's a friend of mine.  Everything is totally healthy and fine

Q: The name Jagger, what is the story behind that?
LD:  You know, it wasn't a big story.  We like maybe not the most traditional names.  It was a name that we had actually heard years ago.  It was always kind of the name we wanted.  It has nothing to do with the Rolling Stones, although people think that.

You know, it was just a name we gravitated towards.  We did not know what we were having the whole pregnancy.  For whatever reason, we thought we were having a girl.  We were always really discussing girl names.  When he came out, we found out it was a boy, we hadn't really discussed the possibility of anything other than a girl, so we went with the name that we had liked for the last few years.

Q.  Considering his middle name as well, do you envision him being called J.J. at some point? [Say what?????]

LD:  I don't know.  We used to talk about if we had a son, you know, we always refer to him as Johnny Jr. while we were never going to call him Jonathan Jr. or whatever.  But it was something fun we did.  We call him Jagger, but we certainly don't care if people call him that.

Q.  Should we take any signs from you playing World TeamTennis that we'll see you back on tour at some point?

LD:  You know, I'm not sure. I mean, I never thought that I would, things changed so much.  I never thought, first of all, I'd be coming back so soon.  It's been so much fun kind of preparing for it.  Just been hitting with my husband to get ready.  It's been great, great getting back in shape.

I hope so. I haven't made any decisions, final decisions yet.  But it's something kind of like a small goal in the back of my mind I'm working towards.  You know, as it went in the later part of my pregnancy, I thought if I stay healthy, it would be just great to be able to come back and play some as a mother.  Hopefully things continue to go well and that can be possible.

Q.  What is the greatest challenge and greatest joy of being a mom?  When you've come back before, when you've had layoffs, is the biggest challenge getting your timing or playing in front of crowds?  What is it from a tennis perspective you'll be dealing with Saturday?

LD:  Yeah, I mean, the first part of the question, the challenge I think for me is about trying to like balance everything.  I totally understand now the working mom's guilt.  If I go out and practice, I feel bad about leaving him.  If I'm home trying to do stuff, I feel bad cleaning up the house or whatever.  It's an interesting challenge there.  We have a wonderful lady helping us, which wouldn't be possible, and I don't think I'd be as focused if I didn't have her.

But I think as far as me coming back, it's never too much been about playing crowds.  It's sometimes in matches being able to play well at the right times.  The other thing for me is, you know, it's not so much timing of hitting the ball, it's moving and timing of hitting of the ball.  I mean, if it comes right down the middle, my timing's always been great.  It's about what kind of steps to take, getting in position, really setting up for my shots.

Q: When you see someone like Bammer, who is a mother, be really successful, Venus not a mother but just winning Wimbledon, your contemporaries, does that inspire you at all to come back, or is it regardless of what anyone else does?

LD: You know, people bring up Bammer a lot to me.  Probably a little different because I think her daughter's like I don't want to misspeak, but like six or something like that.  I'm sure that's incredibly difficult.

For me right now I'm focusing on coming back just from the pregnancy and dealing with an infant.  I'm not sure how it would be if he was five or six.

I think there's amazing women throughout the world that have done great things after having a baby.  Gwen Stefani is a friend of mine.  She balances it all just amazing and she's inspiring.  My mom went back to work after she had all of us.  Both my sisters work.  You know, just about being around that, I feel like I want to be able to try to do it all, and that's obviously being a good mother and a good wife and having some kind of career again hopefully.

Q.  You played Stanford quite often.  What was the appeal to play that tournament for you?  Now that San Diego isn't going to be in the mix, how challenging do you think it will be for that tournament to draw top players?

LD: Yeah, I loved Stanford.  It was definitely one of my favorite tournaments.  Coming from California, it was always really great.  I always played there when healthy to start my summer season.  I always thought the weather was great.  The fans are great.  A great atmosphere.  I always wanted to go to college there. I don't know if that was part of it.  I always thought it was a great, great tournament.

You know, I haven't seen the summer calendar.  I know San Diego's off.  I know Stanford falls before L.A.  In the summer, I think it would still be a good time for them.  It will be difficult next year with an Olympic year.  I think all the tournaments, their dates get kind of played with a little bit.

I think the players that have played there have always loved going there and hopefully that will continue to be the case.

Q. I was talking to Lisa Leslie last week.  She had her daughter a week or so before you did.  She said she also had a C section.  She went out to the ESPY Awards and it was the first time she had left the baby with her mom.  She obviously was feeling a lot of the same things that you are being away from the baby, trying to tend to other things.  Will you be bringing the baby up to Sacramento?

LD:  Oh, yeah.

Q.  How will you handle that?

LD: Yeah, I mean, there's no question.  Whatever I decide to do, and if that's playing again, yeah, I mean, he's with me full time.  That's part of being a mom and stuff.  Yeah, the whole family's going to Sacramento, dad included.

Yeah, you just have to make it work.  Obviously things get more challenging and in some cases more complicated.  I'm hoping that he'll bring me even more joy on the road and a lot of fun.  But obviously, you know, traveling, we just have to learn to make it work.

Q.  At what point do you think you and John would be putting a racquet in his hands?

LD:  If it's up to me, at no time.  I think probably another sport.  But who knows.  Whatever the kid wants to do, he'll obviously be able to do it.

Q.  What memories do you have when you debuted with the Capitals in '93, helped them win the league title in '97 and '98?

LD:  I loved playing there. I remember at the time Ramey (Osborne) was the owner, had gone through my coach at the time Robert (Van’t Hoff) to get me to play.  I was only 17 when I agreed to play.  Had no idea what I was getting into with the whole season.

But absolutely loved it.  Have always loved the concept.  You know, I love being around like the team atmosphere and other players.  Always really interesting when you get the men and women together working towards a common goal.  But everyone in Sacramento was great.  It always had the best crowds, tons of people always there.

I'm interested to see the new site where they're playing, be able to check that out.  I haven't been back there since I guess '98 was the last year.  I know I met a lot of great people up there, the people that all worked for the Capitals were great.  New coach in Wayne Bryan for me.  Look forward to playing with him on the bench.

Q.  Have you watched any tennis in your time off?

LD:  Yeah.  I mean, the last few weeks I was not put on bed rest, but I was put on some rest.  That was right when the French was going on, so I was watching that because there wasn't much else for me to do.  You know, Jagger was born the Sunday, the finals of the French, then two weeks later is Wimbledon.  Those two weeks you're not getting out all that much, so I got to watch Wimbledon, too.  And you're up in the middle of the night, so that was fun.

Q.  Did you find yourself missing it at that point?

LD:  You know, it's funny because I've always enjoyed it.  It was intriguing to watch it, especially kind of how more so for me Wimbledon than the French, how that played out.

Lindsay

You know, there's certain things you definitely miss and there's other things that you don't miss.  But definitely enjoyed watching it, seeing what kind of transpired with some of the upsets, obviously Venus just playing great after the first couple rounds to win again.

Q.  Did the fact she won that and Serena won Australia surprise you?

LD: It didn't surprise me at all.  It surprised me maybe two of the first three rounds she was in some trouble and got through, then she was just on cruise control it seemed like.

Q.  Why didn't it surprise you?

LD:  I think just when she steps on grass, she gets confidence.  I think she's so good on it, I think she knows it.  I think she knows the other players don't really want to play her on grass.  I think that immediately resonates in her game.  Kind of maybe the things that go through her head, maybe the doubt isn't there when she steps on a grass court.

Q. Are you breast feeding?

LD:  I am.  Last night we got to six and a half hours in a row and he's getting big.  I'm hoping this keeps getting extended.

Q.  When the baby arrives, some people say he looks just like you did when you were a baby, resembles family members.  What are people saying?

LD: Yeah, I joked that I'm basically a surrogate to my husband's twin.  It's ridiculous.  You know, my family tries to help.  Oh, you know, his fingers look like yours.  But he is a hundred percent my husband, which is cute.  I mean, it's amazing to look down and see that.

Q.  Where does John stand on possibly the playing?

LD:  He thinks it's great.  He's totally encouraging me to do whatever I want.  Obviously it would be tougher on him because he'd be without me and the baby for stretches at a time.  He thinks it's exciting.

The thing that really intrigues me about playing is the Olympics next year, trying to go back maybe obviously as a mother and see how that pans out.  But he's great.  I mean, he is going to come to Sacramento.  If I could make some sort of schedule, we'll definitely plan a lot of weeks where he's there, make it work.

Q.  Further down the road is the biggest challenge to stop Jagger's grandfather from getting him out on the court?

LD: The whole family.  You know, I mean, we'll see what happens.  I think it's probably in his best interest maybe not to follow the tennis gene.  You can't really control what they want to do.  Hopefully he'll be involved in some kind of sports

ROSIE CREWS:  Lindsay, thank you so much for joining us today.  We can't wait to see you in Sacramento.

LD:  I will see you this weekend.


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Posted by frances 07/19/2007 at 10:20 AM

i'm first! this has never happened before -- but it's only fair since I'm the smartest one on these boards.

no problem with her coming back.

Posted by Paul 07/19/2007 at 10:28 AM

For some reason, I don't see Kimmy Clisters coming back.

Ever since I heard about the only "Mom" on the WTA, I've been rooting for Sybille Bammer. And how can you not love the name: Sybille Bammer.

Posted by Rolo Tomassi 07/19/2007 at 10:31 AM

I almost spit out my coffee at that C-section line. Really enjoyed the almost giddy tone of this post. Also love the pic of Lindsay with Tracy Austin - makes me look forward to the US Open - when Tracy shows up on USA Network in those sparkly dresses and gets all school-girly with Johnny Mac - I have a real soft spot for her - always makes me smile.

OK, off to work I go!

Posted by Sher 07/19/2007 at 10:34 AM

Kinda funny that nobody tells the guys it's "okay to have a kid and a career", but girls are supposed to manage both.

Posted by Ryan 07/19/2007 at 10:53 AM

Maybe tennis players don't want their kids to play the sport because they'll feel like they're controlling their child's destiny too much, and they'll feel guilty about it. Having their kid play tennis would be the obvious choice, and they probably want their kid doing whatever he/she wants. It's not like every time a woman has a child, someone asks about the baby repeating the mother's (or father's) career.

"Oh, so when will little Billy start cashiering?"

"Will Susie be a lawyer too??"

Posted by Ryan 07/19/2007 at 10:57 AM

Oh, and I'm elated that Lindsay's choosing to come back.

Posted by MrsSanta 07/19/2007 at 11:08 AM

I was never a Davenport fan. Of all the American women she was my least favourite. I couldn't get on board with the just grateful to be there attitude especially when contrasted with the bloody-mindedness of Serena, Venus and Capriati. You're a champion dear act like one. However playing professional tennis a few months after having a baby is hardcore. I would never have expected Lindsay of all people to do it. Good luck mama.

Besides Kimmy how many other high profile players have done the drama queeny babies and wedding plans are calling me tennis sucks exit? I cant seem to remember any. Did I miss this epidemic?

Posted by Jenn 07/19/2007 at 11:08 AM

Ryan, I agree with your take. I think players probably recognize that it would be tough for a kid born from a star tennis player to be playing tennis and forever be compared to their parent's accomplishments, and there is a very remote chance, despite good genes, that the child would ever be as accomplished as the parent, so that is a tough situation to be in.

I am SO surprised by this. Davenport seemed very negative, almost sullen to me during the last couple of years on the tour (ever since that loss to Venus in the marathon Wimbledon final). It would be amazing for anyone to start playing again at the pro level 6-7 weeks after having a baby, but for someone who basically said they were out of the sport and did not seem to want to play anymore, its really surprising. Good for her! I have never really been the biggest fan of hers, which I attribute mostly to her often negative body language and seeming lack of enthusiasm on the court, but I think its a great example to set for young working mothers (of which I am one).

Posted by 2handed 07/19/2007 at 11:08 AM

I've never read this blog before, but have heard many things about it.

I stopped reading at "it sounds like all she needed to do was take a little break to drop a calf".

No wonder you have such a great rep.

Posted by Beth 07/19/2007 at 11:27 AM

well - I would certainly never compare my tennis to Lindsay's - I mean she is a professional athlete - and I most certainly am not . But I did play my first competitive league match just 6 weeks after giving birth to a child.Boy did I suck - and it was really tough - The baby was too young to go in the daycare at the club - so our team captain and our club pro took turns holding her and rocking her so I could stand out on the court and lose - 6-0, 6-0. I think even a pro will find this a little harder than she thinks. Still - if she wants to come back - I admire her desire to play. Why shouldn't she play ? The baby can certainly travel along at this point - and all will be fine.
And I think jenn is correct that it would be a lot of pressure on the child to always be compared to a former no1 - that would be my interpretation of her thoughts on the boy playing tennis. Lindsay comes from the least forceful tennis parents I have ever heard of - I imagine she would be much like them in that regard.
And Ryan- the first question people ask my husband today - "are you disappointed that Jake did not want to be a doctor like you?" Happens all the time. His answer -" no , he has to choose his own path."

Posted by Jess 07/19/2007 at 11:30 AM

Beth ~ I can relate. My son was six weeks old when I returned to tennis. Everything is different when you step back on the court the first time! Now, at two, my son is basically the team mascot! :)

Posted by Tim 07/19/2007 at 11:31 AM

This is an exciting story, no former Slam champ since Evonne Goolagong has tried to come back after a baby and win a Slam...i think Lindsay could do it! the baby might make her more relaxed and focused and feel less pressure... Lindsay hits hard but she always seems to have more purpose out there than the Ivanovics and Vaidisovas IMO...

Posted by Pete 07/19/2007 at 11:33 AM

2handed: you must be one of those "human buzz kill" types.

Posted by DMS 07/19/2007 at 11:38 AM

LOL Pete, nicely handled there...buzz kill..lol...and Beth, I don't play much tennis anymore like you, but kudos to you for staying active so soon after giving birth...and if you follow running, Paula Radcliffe gave birth and is very much getting back in the game...and she was as successful, if not more than Davenport. That merely makes Pete's point as well.

Posted by MrsSanta 07/19/2007 at 11:40 AM

Jess and Beth what is wrong with you people? If I had just produced another human being I would spend at least a year lying in a hammock eating bon bons and sipping grape Stoli.

Posted by Heidi 07/19/2007 at 11:42 AM

I see that one big point you're making is that these ferocious athletes don't have to retire in order to be mothers, and that's certainly true considering that they can afford copious health care and child care and the like. On the other hand, I can't imagine that training and traveling with little children is so easy, especially since the odds of the dad being stay-at-home are considerably less (there certainly are men on tour who seem to travel with wife and kids, at least occasionally). I don't think that you're necessarily disputing this, either.

So I think that your beef is really with the tone. In other words, retire to have children if you like, but don't blame the evilness of the tennis life for your choice? Have children but don't proclaim that you'd rather see them play another sport?

In that case, let's also take some good swings at Mr. "I'm so bored at Wimbledon" Davydenko and some of the other whiners on tour. I just don't think that the maternal urge, so to speak, is really the focus here -- it's whining athletes.

Posted by Mark 07/19/2007 at 11:52 AM

The phrase about Clijsters dashing out of the hospital is hilarious. Shame she'd never do it.

Posted by nyc 07/19/2007 at 11:53 AM

I am absolutely delighted that she's coming back! But, I am telling you, during the French Open or Wimbledon they showed her pregnant and talking about her career, and saying it was over! She was done, retired, and don't talk about a comeback!


Champagne Kimmy is an embarassment to women, tennis, and Billie Jean King (and embodiement of the other two, i know) good riddance to her, I hope she doesn't come back.

Posted by Beth 07/19/2007 at 11:58 AM

Mrs Santa - LOL
not a chance to lie around and sip Stoli and eat bon bons - once a baby arrives on the scene - they are incredibly time consuming - and demanding little humans. Put into that mix a 3 year old - and you have quadrupled your work load.
I joined a tennis team so I could get some exercise and talk to adults about something other than diapers.

Posted by Pete 07/19/2007 at 12:02 PM

Well, Heidi, I was being kind of playful here (always dangerous with certain "always looking-to-take-offense on behalf of womankind" types and other malcontents lurking), but the spirit (intended) here is that maybe there's a "hey, life is pretty good after all" element to all this, and that like so many other celebs and personages,tennis players can go spinning off into self-absorption and mega-diva-hood. And while I can see players not wanting their own kids to go through some of the stuff they endured growing up as players, this form of denial of self and identity is silly, and a transparent conceit. Gee, Lindsay just had a kid but can't wait to get back on a tennis court, that's how horrible a fate it is to be a tennis player! In a curious way, there's just a lack of humility and thankfulness at work in these attitudes, although I wouldn't make a big deal out if it. It's mostly amusing. Can you imagine Pele saying "I would never want my kid to be a soccer player! Heavens no!" Go figure. . .

Posted by Jess 07/19/2007 at 12:03 PM

Echoing Beth's sentiments here, the tennis court is my escape from mom-hood, work, life, etc. :D

And just so I'm not too OT, for Lindsay, I hope that having her son will give her perspective on the court and keep her from getting too mopey and dejected.

Posted by Heidi 07/19/2007 at 12:05 PM

Thanks for the reply, Pete. That's kind of the spirit I saw running through the post. So to all those malcontents who are unhappy with the calf line, we can extrapolate this to the men if you like... quite easily.

Posted by robbyfan 07/19/2007 at 12:06 PM

Sorry Pete- I am with 2handed on this one. That was uncalled for.

Posted by ptenisnet 07/19/2007 at 12:06 PM

I kind of think feminism is about the freedom to do whatever it is you wanted to do (including going off and having babies), not about doing feminist things. Otherwise you are just replacing one kind of glass ceiling with another.

Posted by Mark 07/19/2007 at 12:11 PM

I've always been a huge fan of Lindsay and her game. I'm so excited she is making a return. I hope it works out and we see her back on the court soon!

Posted by D-Wiz 07/19/2007 at 12:16 PM

ptenisnet wrote: "I kind of think feminism is about the freedom to do whatever it is you wanted to do (including going off and having babies), not about doing feminist things. Otherwise you are just replacing one kind of glass ceiling with another."

Totally with ya, ptenis. I never think of myself as a feminist, but I think I actually am the kind of feminist you describe.

Re: Lindsay. Hey, I'm just psyched she's coming back. :)

Posted by Pete 07/19/2007 at 12:18 PM

Robbyfan - I don't know, you seem to be assuming that it's an insult to equate a child with a calf or a mom with a cow, but I am an animal and farm lover (and a father), and think there's a wonderful, heartwarming similarity and celebration of the miracle of life in all of this stuff. I think if you've ever looked into the wet, black eyes of a baby calf fresh from the womb you would be just as moved to smile or weep for joy as you might at any other birth. I guess I'm just more relaxed and comfortable about what we share with the natural world. And I have no objection if someone wants to compare me to certain farm animals, although on the whole I'd rather it be a stud throroughbred ;-) than a 4-H blue-ribbon pig. Much as I love pigs. To each his own, sorry you were offended, though. . .

Posted by Beth 07/19/2007 at 12:23 PM

Hey - D-wiz long time no see - anyway
I think Ptensnet nailed it on the head there
sadly, many do not think that way - as a stay at home mom - I run into the working mom types who think i do not do anything of value and often give me a superior attitude
I thought the point was for me to have my choice - I would not denigrate theirs.
I wish Lindsay much success in what she chooses to do.
And maybe she will feel a little more joy out on the court now - and let it show - that would be a good thing

Posted by robbyfan 07/19/2007 at 12:23 PM

Pete-that was the most fascinating drivel I have ever read from you. Are you smoking hay from your field or what?

Ask your wife if she is ready to drop another calf and then tell us the reaction you get.

Posted by svelterogue 07/19/2007 at 12:27 PM

loved loved this interview. some people have compared lindsay to kim, saying that these two are the "nice girls next door" on the tour. this lindsay d is a nice girl who could live next door with a very solid perspective on: being a mother, being a player, being someone who wants to do what makes her happy. and she says it all in such an easygoing manner that makes you (ok, me) smile.

way to go, lindsay, and if you do play doubles at pilot pen, i will be rooting for you! and henceforth...

Posted by Pete 07/19/2007 at 12:27 PM

Robbyfan: my wife would laugh and smack me upside the head; one of the reasons I married her (the laughing, not the smacking, part).

Posted by codepoke 07/19/2007 at 12:31 PM

I wonder if tennis players aren't a more self-deprecatory lot than most. When Steve Young says he wants a fistfull of superbowl rings, I'd wager nobody is surprised. Donald Young says he wants a bag full of slams, though, and everyone clicks one up on the ego counter and prepares for "bad things." That's even if Steve Young is sitting on the bench behind Joe Montana and Donald Young holds every junior trophy they've ever made. It's not an entirely unreasonable thing for a kid on a high to say, but we don't expect such outspoken arrogance.

I'd love for Agassi and Graf to say they'll make sure their kid blots all Federer's records from the books, if he wants it. They'll never light us up like that, but I'd eat it up if they did. The question is whether tennis doesn't allow statements like that, or whether tennis attracts people who don't make statements like that. I think it's hard to call, but about 20 years ago Agassi was just the kind of guy who would say something like that. Today, he seems as humble a man as you'd ever hope to meet.

If I had to lay money, I'd bet that tennis humbles us all.

(OK. Not Connors.)

Posted by robbyfan 07/19/2007 at 12:32 PM

and I'm sure she sees you as a stud thoroughbred! Sorry-couldn't resist. no more ot on this thread from me.

Posted by Ali C (Allez!) 07/19/2007 at 12:34 PM

Re: Lindsay being sullen on tour her last couple of years, I recall seeing an interview with her several months after the Wimbledon 05 Final where she said that was one of the most difficult losses in her career to take, and that she almost couldn't stand there and accept the runner-up plate.

It wouldn't surprise me if that loss stuck with her for awhile. Coupled with injuries (the shoulder in her last season), her enthusiasm might have been lacking indeed.

I'm glad she's back. Hope she does well.

Posted by ptenisnet 07/19/2007 at 12:39 PM

codepoke,
I wonder if team vs. individual sport has something to do with that. I dont think, for instance, anyone will give Young Donald any kind of grief if he were to say "I want to lead the US to 10 davis cup titles." That indicates a greater purpose than just individual glory.

Posted by AJ 07/19/2007 at 12:43 PM

There are times I will complain about how much I hate my job. But one week vacation and I am bored at home, dying to go back to work. I can see Lindsay (or other pros) having similar feelings about tennis. I dont see her playing full calendar. But can still play spring US events and then wimby-US open swing.

Posted by DMS 07/19/2007 at 12:49 PM

Moderator, sorry the 12:48 meant that to go over on the OT page (working two windows)...if you could strike if would be much obliged. Thank you.

Posted by jhurwi 07/19/2007 at 12:55 PM

They certainly let women do more after a Caesarean section nowadays--when I had one 28 years ago, I wasn't even allowed to drive a car for six weeks (a real nuisance if you live in the suburbs!)But it's still major abdominal surgery, which has to affect the muscles needed for the serve; Amelie Mauresmo had a hard time after her operation for appendicitis. I wonder if Linday is being realistic in planning to play in New Haven, even if it's only for doubles.

Posted by DMS 07/19/2007 at 01:02 PM

Thank you Mod Squad.

Posted by svelterogue 07/19/2007 at 01:06 PM

robbyfan, chill, do chill.

my first son was born by c-section and after 6 weeks, i was just getting back to normal duties. i think i started sporting again at the 8-week mark, and this just light trawling in the pool. so this whole thing about lindsay playing just 6 weeks after her birthing... wow.

Posted by svelterogue 07/19/2007 at 01:11 PM

pete, that photo of lindsay and tracy is just cute. :) that dress looks good on lindsay and tracy is your regular smiling pixie.

Posted by tangerine popsicle (tangi) 07/19/2007 at 01:14 PM

It bugs me when I hear actors and actresses use that same line that Lindsay did ... "I would never want my child in show business, it's so tough, there's so much rejection, it's such an ugly business" ... blah, blah, blah as they stroll the red carpet wearing Valentino or Armani to promote their latest flick that paid them millions.

It always strikes me as disingenuous and sort of "poor me."

I wish athletes/celebrities would learn that there is no law stating you must say everything that pops into you head. More editing, please! Less is more.

Posted by tangerine popsicle (tangi) 07/19/2007 at 01:18 PM

That being said, I am glad to see Lindsay back. She was always one of my favorites, and it would be nice to see another American woman in the mix!

(Speaking of editing, my 1:14 post should have said "into your head.")

Posted by Sunny 07/19/2007 at 01:22 PM

Peter,
You do great analysis in tennis. Why are you veering towards interpreting personalities and psychological aspect of the players? Especially vexing is your interpretation of player interviews. Can you not provide more analysis about the game, strategy, and techniques of the players? I for one don't care what a guy is thinking after he has lost a match. So please report tennis. Otherwise it will be like Paul Krugman writing about politics in New York Times. When he wrote about economics he was great, now he is just mediocre.
Sunny

Posted by Scott 07/19/2007 at 01:27 PM

If you can get past Lindsay's typical "you know" almost every line, this is pleasant to read.

Posted by robbyfan 07/19/2007 at 01:34 PM

svelterouge-lighten up!

I think Lindsay looks like a taller version of Katie Holmes especially in the same type dress. I am thrilled she is coming back as I really enjoy her game. I remember Wimby 2005 at the trophy presentation. I ached for her.

Posted by kiwibee 07/19/2007 at 01:35 PM

I'm glad to see Lindsay coming back to play. As for Kimmie,by the year 2010 she might have half dozen kids in her house. So forget about her already.

Posted by Kenneth 07/19/2007 at 01:48 PM

Yah for Lindsay! I was really hoping that she wouldn't end her career on a sour note. And I love cows, Pete. There's something about a grazing cow that calms the nerves. Not sure why.

I think players are a little afraid, maybe, of their children outshining them. Perhaps that's why so many say they want their child to strike a path in another sport. Much less pressure both ways. I know I grew up with parents who always said they wanted me to do better than them; very rarely is that sentiment expressed with pro athletes. You know, records and all.

Let's hope this shimmering excitement for returning to the tour is evident while she's actually playing. I agree with the poster earlier who said Lindsay has seemed sullen and put-out while playing these last few years. I really hope this new addition to her family uplifts her game. I want to see another smashing final where she actually beats Venus this time. Go Lindsay!

Posted by Pete 07/19/2007 at 01:59 PM

Sunny, it's funny. .. I think of Krugman as the ultimate, arrogant, academic weenie personified; if the fate of planet earth rested on his ability to change a flat tire, we're all dead. Yet he has this enormous audience and bully pulpit. So anyway, you really made me think about your point, but honestly - I think most people like it when I have a little fun with the personalities and I have to confess that tennis analysis beyond a point not only bores me, but I think is actually irrelevant. Tennis is not about the X's and O's.

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 07/19/2007 at 02:02 PM

just as a chill meter reading- perhaps the dropping comment was a tad to close to the ever popular girl on girl insult of "fat cow". I have rarely heard a chap brave enough to actually use it in public. Perhaps something a little closer to an immaculate birth scenario for this crowd or a few more cowgirls/farm women for readers ??? (just kidding of course).

Given her in-laws - I think she is just saying her son will not be pushed into being a tennis player = although I detected a bit of a resigned attitude in her comment about he will have opportunities. I can't imagine when he is young, there will not be some fun knock abouts with mum and dad.

I was always a LD supporter and everyone I read I respect said she was one of the pure ball strikers in the women's game. I was disappointed along side her when she went walk about in those important matches.

Posted by Samantha 07/19/2007 at 02:11 PM

Guys, lighten up and chill. It was funny what Pete said particularly about dropping the calf. The visual of that made me laugh. Welcome back Lindsay, she hit such a beautiful clean ball. I've the Wimbledon 05 on DVD and it's a classic. American tennis can sure use her.

Posted by Sher 07/19/2007 at 02:11 PM

ptenisnet, I'm with you re: feminism and re:individual glory, both!

Posted by Sher 07/19/2007 at 02:13 PM

Samantha, relax, sometimes people disagree. It's okay to have different opinions, that's what makes it interesting.

Posted by Ruth 07/19/2007 at 02:15 PM

As I indicated on another thread, if I thought Lindsay would really retire after having her baby, I would have immendiately moved Kuzy into her (Lindsay's) spot in my "five faves" circle. But I never, ever would have believed that she'd be back in 6 weeks! Six months, maybe, but not six weeks.

When, early in the interview, she mentioned that next year was an Olympics year, I thought, "Hmmm, she's thinking about the Olympics." But I dismissed that thought until she clearly stated later on that she'd like to see if she could make it back and be a part of the Olympics. Go, Lindsay! She is one of those players, who (in spite of the dismissive attitude some writers adopt re: tennis and the Olympics) have ALWAYS cited winning an Olympics medal as one of themajor highlights of their careers. Venus and Agassi are two others who come to mind who have expressed similar sentiments. And that's one of the many reasons why I -- an FC/DC/Olympics KAD -- love those three players.

Posted by Ryan 07/19/2007 at 02:15 PM

Pete, I'd say you're taking Lindsay's comments about her child's potential future in tennis and putting them in a context that doesn't really exist. I don't see Lindsay as the kind of person to believe that tennis is such a rough life. In fact, she's mentioned multiple times how grateful she is for the career she's had and the opportunities tennis has given her.

If I had to guess, I'd say her motives are more related to the reasons I posted above--allowing her child to do whatever he wants, and not live in her shadow. Just think if Andre and Steffi's kids take up tennis--the spotlight on them would be so harsh, because shouldn't they rack up like 987235908145 Slams? If Lindsay's son plays football, however, no one will really care, but in a good way--there won't be that constant hounding by the press.

I'd say the fact that she misses tennis and is coming back to the game is a signal that she doesn't hate it (in the way you imply Ms. Champagne does). From her public comments alone, Lindsay seems like the type to think about what is best for her child, rather than doing whatever it takes to be back in the spotlight.

Posted by Pete 07/19/2007 at 02:18 PM

Nice to see you less disgruntled than at 10:34 post, Sher. Have you had some sort of Road To Damascus experience at the hands of our Ptenisnet?

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 07/19/2007 at 02:26 PM

Oh and btw - I was playing in a pro am where Tracy Austin was the "celeb" guest and she could not have made it more obvious how bored she was and eager, once she got the cheque, to get out of there. She was even rude to the three teaching pros she played the exo with. One is a friend and she said self centered and fancy herself rotten hardly describes her.

Perhaps we caught her on a bad two days, but no one forced her to accept the money to come to the charity event.

Posted by M-Life 07/19/2007 at 02:41 PM

You're not as smart as me... Frances.

Posted by Ruth 07/19/2007 at 02:43 PM

Pete: I have to join the chorus of those who think that Lindsay's comment about not wanting to urge her son to take up tennis has more to do with the scrutiny and pressure she knows he would face as "Lindsay's son" thank it does with tennis bashing or ingratitude.

Posted by Dunlop Maxply 07/19/2007 at 03:16 PM

The comment, remember, is in response to the question, "when are you going to stick a racket in his hand."

Tennis, unlike many other sports, especially team sports, requires quite a bit of parental involvement early on. The parental support required for reasonably top level junior play is always so high, that the question "whose idea is this, the kid's or the parent's?" is always front and center.

For a former pro, especially one as accomplished as Lindsay Davenport, the thought of forcing their kid to play tennis, even if its 1% force and 99% the kids idea, is abhorrent.

Remember, Lindsay, has seen a million kids burn out.

Posted by Pete 07/19/2007 at 03:25 PM

Hey Dunlop! Have you been going to the LA event?

Posted by Pete 07/19/2007 at 03:30 PM

PS - Yeah, folks, on that Lindsay quote about the boy and when he starts playing: in context (and even in general) it's a bit of a throwaway line and very representative of the conventional wisdom etc. But really, isn't it odd how you never hear a single player say "I'd love for my kid to grow up and win all the Slams I could not"! I just find the cliche - much like Jenn pointed out in her Comment, above - sort of disingenuous and full of some false, vaguely PC-like sentiment that in the end makes them seem that much more special or unusual - although I'm sure that's not their intent. It's just a phony conceit and not a big deal.

Posted by Grant 07/19/2007 at 03:35 PM

Well Pete, it's possible that a lot of players feel that they were pushed by their parents and now want to do the opposite with their own kids.

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 07/19/2007 at 03:39 PM

So who are the professional players who have children now playing on the tour? Wasn't Hingis mother/ coach a player herself ? Did Ms. Murray ever play? Didn't T. Nadal play (if at a very low level) or did he morph into a coach from local pro?

Didn't Ms.Henman or was it grandmother play at Wimbley?

Wonder what, if anything, they said about their children playing and what were their goals. Isn't our own DM = a former pro helping his offspring in the juniors?

Posted by patrick 07/19/2007 at 03:44 PM

M-Life,
I see where Chaki has made it to the QF tomorrow in Cincy. She needs to win this tourney or at worst, lose to Schnyder in the finals. If this does not happen, Chaki chances of winning the USO,in my opinion, will be reduced.

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 07/19/2007 at 03:44 PM

as someone said - given the obvious attention and expectations, a well known pro would not be wise to crank up the expectations and pressure any higher than it already will be by seen to be pushing.

Posted by Ryan 07/19/2007 at 03:57 PM

The difference, Pete, I think, is that tennis is the solo sport, so the pressure is squarely on the child, whereas Pele's son or Bo Jackson's son or Michael Jordan's son can play a team sport and deflect some of the pressure. Look at Chris Simms--his dad won a Super Bowl, but no one is expecting loads out of him. Andre/Steffi's kids, however, would have the weight of every tennis journalist on their shoulders.

Posted by GSte 07/19/2007 at 04:26 PM

Davenport at the upcoming USO: "Who said my baby is ugly? I'm in a bagel-baking mood girls-go ahead and try me!"


and Pete-I also laughed at your "dropping a calf image". My father had his own animal comparison when my brother and I were born.

Posted by ptenisnet 07/19/2007 at 04:52 PM

***Not to be slowed down, mom-to-be Kim Clijsters is reportedly publishing a book called “My Fans”, which will be composed entirely of letters sent to her over the years by (duh!) fans. It will be out in September …and serve as a great reminder of her solo Slam win.***


http://www.offthebaseline.com

Posted by Pete 07/19/2007 at 05:04 PM

Ptenisnet - you just made my day. . .

Posted by ptenisnet 07/19/2007 at 05:13 PM

Yes pete, that was more or less exclusively for you.

I am having a Voltaire moment.

Posted by ptenisnet 07/19/2007 at 05:23 PM

Upon further investigation, it appears that I was having a Evelyn Beatrice Hall moment.

Posted by Grant 07/19/2007 at 05:35 PM

"I am having a Voltaire moment."

You're drinking 50 cups of coffee and making fun of the Church?

Posted by svelterogue 07/19/2007 at 05:36 PM

smiling at P&P

Posted by ptenisnet 07/19/2007 at 05:39 PM

well I drank 3 cups of coffee and told a St Peter joke, but it's a work in progress.

Posted by Ruth 07/19/2007 at 05:59 PM

I thought that link might be exclusively for Temes, pteniset. Where is Temes?

Posted by Dunlop Maxply 07/19/2007 at 06:47 PM

There are a significant number of well known pros who had parents that were very good. Chris Evert's dad was a teaching pro. Donald Young's parents are teaching pros. Gloria Connors was a teaching pro. Andre Agassi's dad was a teaching pro. Then you have Martina Hingis's mom.

But I think one thing all former players realize is that, in terms of making some sort of living at the game, its really a case of lightning striking. The odds are really incalculable, because to be, say, the next Andy Roddick (and here is a guy who does not get enough love around here, for sure) it means you have to be the number one player out of the entire United States over about a ten year stretch (five years older and, at the moment, five years younger).

My kids play, and as a parent obviously it would be great for them to be the next Roger Federer. But really, its such a ridiculous proposition that no former player would take it seriously.

If I was asked to state what, as a parent, you actually have some control over, I would say its the ability to play on a decent, not top flight, mind you, U.S. high school tennis team.

Anything better than that is a question of pure good fortune.

And, again, I think Lindsay's answer was really more a question of not "would you like your kids to play" but "would you make them play."

Her husband, Jon, of course, belongs to one of the great tennis families of the U.S. Dick Leach, Jon's dad, of course, was a top ranked U.S. player who played the international circuit as was the coach at USC. Jon's brother, Rick, was one of the all time great doubles players, at every level. I think another Leach brother is still in the game.

So, bascally, very, very few families have more knowledge than the Davenport extended family on the ups and downs of a tennis career.

Posted by ptenisnet 07/19/2007 at 06:48 PM

I didnt think of that ruth. It should make temes very happy.

Posted by Andrew Miller 07/19/2007 at 06:48 PM

Personally I am waiting for Evert to get out of the booth and back on the court. Or perhaps Carillo to go head to head with the players she criticizes so often.

How many games would they win? 3? maybe?

Posted by Andrew Miller 07/19/2007 at 06:53 PM

A few things seem to have been left out of the argument:

1) The impact of Sybille Bammer. Davenport must know she's better than Bammer, yet Bammer is out there with a kid in tow and showing hey, mom's can win high-level pro tennis matches.

2) Dearth of U.S. female stars. We have the Williams sisters winning 2/3 majors with seemingly no match play, and no break-out performances by up and coming female u.s. tennis players. Lindsay comes back and easily is the third best u.s. player. It's easy for people to want her back, even if they were leukwarm to her when she was around.

Posted by Dunlop Maxply 07/19/2007 at 07:00 PM

And, I forgot to add, Wayne Bryan, father of Bob and Mike, was a very good player and teaching pro.

Off of the top of my head I can't think of a former Grand Slam singles winner who has a kid or kids who play the tour. Lendl is steering his girls towards the golf tour. Yannick Noah's son is headed for the NBA, not Roland Garros.

Anyone else think of anyone?

Posted by Lucy 07/19/2007 at 07:19 PM

Lindsay rawks. As Mrs S said, a comeback months after giving birth is hardcore.

Not to be slowed down, mom-to-be Kim Clijsters is reportedly publishing a book called “My Fans”, which will be composed entirely of letters sent to her over the years by (duh!) fans. It will be out in September …and serve as a great reminder of her solo Slam win.

BAHAHAHA.

Posted by Dunlop Maxply 07/19/2007 at 07:19 PM

Taylor Dent. Son of Phil Dent, who won a couple of Grand Slam dubs titles and lost to Connors in the final one year.

Roy Emerson's son, Anthony, played the tour a bit as well.

But the odds to not appear to be good for lightning to strike twice in the same family, at least in terms of the highest reaches of the game.

Posted by Dunlop Maxply 07/19/2007 at 07:20 PM

that should have been "do not appear good." Sheesh.

Posted by Beth 07/19/2007 at 07:26 PM

I think Fred Stolle's kid tried to play pro for a while - but flamed out
and there are a few ads about the son of one Brad Gilbert - who is at some tennis academy

Posted by Lucy 07/19/2007 at 07:28 PM

That's right Beth, Sandon Stolle. He was a serviceable doubles player but not much more. The chances of a great producing another great don't seem high, at any rate.

Posted by Sahadev 07/19/2007 at 07:29 PM

Yeah, Sandon

Posted by Andrea 07/19/2007 at 07:29 PM

"I'd be all for that. And on that front, I have some advice for all you girls: There's no need to break off with tennis like the game was a former boyfriend - controlling, demanding, keeping you from being you - just because the guy whom you want to father your kids pops onto the radar. It's okay to still like tennis when you're about to get married and start a family; it isn't like, infidelity, or anything, comprende?"

Funny analogy. Ok, comprende.

Posted by Sahadev 07/19/2007 at 07:30 PM

And I know there is a weird anti-Edouard Roger-Vasselin bias on this blog, but his father was a successful pro and now so is he.

Posted by ptenisnet 07/19/2007 at 07:32 PM

Vijay Amritraj sort of got to the second week of Wimbledon. And his kid plays although not exceptionally successfully.
Similarly also, Ramanathan Krishnan and his son Ramesh Krishnan.

And dont forget that multiple GS 3rd rounder Vladimir Davydenko.

Posted by Ray Stonada 07/19/2007 at 07:34 PM

Um, Vijay Armitraj's son played, didn't he?

In terms of lightning striking the same family twice, here's a pretty decent example: Venus and Serena Williams.

Posted by ptenisnet 07/19/2007 at 07:35 PM

I seriously doubt that this condition is particular to tennis though.
I cant think of (m)any examples in other sports where the son/daughter is as good/better than a very successful parent.

Squash might have something of this sort.

Posted by ptenisnet 07/19/2007 at 07:38 PM

Prakash Amritraj.

There is also a Stephen edition of the Amritrajs courtesy of Anand Amritraj.

Posted by Dunlop Maxply 07/19/2007 at 07:38 PM

I should have remembered the Krishnans. If they were from SoCal, I probably would have :)

Posted by Lucy 07/19/2007 at 07:38 PM

Regression toward the mean. Gifted parents produce smartish, disappointing kids. Why should tennis talent be any different?

Posted by MrsSanta 07/19/2007 at 07:41 PM

It would seem that Jaden and Jaz Elle(?!) are completely screwed tennis wise.

Posted by Dunlop Maxply 07/19/2007 at 07:43 PM

The Amritraj family is really looking to make a statement. Vijay, Anand and Ashok all made it into the top 200. With three kids of what appears to be the next generation playing, there is a possiblity for six members of the same immediate family to play the tour.

Not even the three Maleeva sisters can match that one!

Posted by ptenisnet 07/19/2007 at 07:43 PM

Speaking of GOATS (were we?)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jahangir_Khan

Posted by dm29 07/19/2007 at 07:44 PM

Good point, Ray.

We also of course have the Bryan bros (oh wait they've been mentioned), Jmac & Pmac, the Bondarenko sisters (though no Slams here), ... who else?

(I guess the siblings list is more extensive than the parent-progeny list)

Posted by Sahadev 07/19/2007 at 07:45 PM

It's happened in soccer, even within my limited knowledge (the Maldinis), and in cricket (the Tates, the Pataudis, among others).

Lucy, I think it's more than regression to the mean. Athletically gifted parents have athletically gifted children, but parental success is intimidating.

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