Lindsay Davenport, the 1998 U.S. Open women’s champion, has a whole new perspective on the sport since becoming a mother last year.
In an exclusive phone interview with the Queens Chronicle on Tuesday from Flushing Meadows, she said playing at the U.S. Open has special meaning since the birth of her son, Jagger (as in Mick) 14 months ago. “I started playing at Flushing Meadows at 14 or 15 and the U.S. Open has such a storied history,” she said. “Now I’m back as a mother. It’s very exciting.”
Davenport, 32, was back playing tennis two months after giving birth and has just returned to the United States from Beijing, where she participated in the Olympics. Although she didn’t win a medal, the California native loved taking part in the games.
“The Olympics were fantastic. This was my third one and based on my age, probably the last.”
She was able to participate in the opening ceremonies, but the athletes don’t get to see the show. She left before the end of the games to get ready for the U.S. Open.
Davenport has won 55 titles as a pro — including three Grand Slams — the U.S. Open, Wimbledon in 1999 and the Australian Open in 2000. She took a gold medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
But at age 32, she is looking at some opponents who are half her age. “It’s not easy. You are travelling all over the world and I bring Jagger with me,” she said.
The toddler even attends her matches, although it was his nap time during her recent win over Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada at the U.S. Open.
Davenport likes playing in Flushing Meadows because she is familiar with so many people attached to it. “I know the USTA staff, a security guard and the ball kids. That’s what makes it special,” she said.
Although she would like to have more children in the future, Davenport acknowledged that she had to work very hard to get back into shape after having Jagger. “I did a lot of cardio, biking, eliptical and had a sensible diet.”
She knows that all women who have children go through the same thing. But in Davenport’s case, she had to train even harder to return as a top athlete.
Now, she is also a spokeswoman for Juvederm, an injectable gel for facial skin that claims to give a more youthful appearance. “I noticed after giving birth that my skin looked sort of blaah, plus I have a lot more sun damage than most,” Davenport said.
There were no sunscreens when she started playing tennis at the age of six. Now she wears sunscreen all the time.
Davenport likes the results of the treatment, which lasts a year. “It plumps your face. It doesn’t freeze it.”
As for her diet, she does not eat processed food. “I eat what I want but it’s natural food.”
The 6-foot 2-inch tennis pro is back to her playing weight of 175 pounds.