Davenport Coming Back In 2008

December 19, 2007

Lindsay Davenport is done with dabbling in tennis. She's planning a full-fledged comeback in 2008, with her eyes on at least three Grand Slam tournaments, along with the Fed Cup and, possibly, the Beijing Olympics.

It wasn't that long ago that the 31-year-old Davenport figured her pro career would be over. After all, she gave birth to her first child, a boy, in June.

But following about 11 months off the tour, she played in three small events at the end of this season -- enough to persuade her she was ready for more.

"I just didn't think that athletically I'd be able to rebound as well as I have," Davenport said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters. "My body has felt really great the last six months."

She will play in her first Grand Slam tournament in more than a year at January's Australian Open. While she's not so sure about playing at the French Open on clay, her worst surface, the American does plan on entering Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

"I was really excited to come back and play, but also really nervous about still being able to do well and having the comeback be a success," said Davenport, who won three Grand Slam singles titles and reached No. 1 in the rankings. "But, yeah, I never would have thought that it would have gone as well as it has so far."

She also is excited about the prospect of returning to Fed Cup play, something that could lead to a berth on the U.S. Olympic team. Davenport won the gold medal in singles at the 1996 Atlanta Games and points to participating in another Olympics as a chief reason for her return.

She already has been announced as part of captain Zina Garrison's team that will face Germany in the Fed Cup quarterfinals in La Jolla, Calif., in February.

Davenport made a commitment to staying on the U.S. squad for the semifinals and final, should the team make it that far. The United States hasn't won the competition since 2000.

"I'm extremely excited to see Lindsay back on the court ... after having that beautiful baby, which I've seen so many pictures of," Garrison said. "But the thing I like the most is the fact that Lindsay has always been able to bring so much to the team, and I'm really looking forward to being around her again."

Garrison and Davenport both hope to have at least "one player with the last name 'Williams,"' Davenport said with a laugh Wednesday.

Garrison has approached sisters Venus and Serena Williams about rejoining the team and is waiting to hear back.

"They're actually in the process of trying to figure it out," Garrison said. "I got an e-mail yesterday from Venus, who wants to talk about it, and I've talked a little bit about it to Serena, and she's trying to figure out how her schedule would go. They both were very, very, very happy to know that Lindsay is on board."

Garrison has until 10 days before the matches against Germany to announce her squad.

Davenport's last Fed Cup appearance was in 2005, but she hasn't lost in the event since 1994. She's 31-2 overall, 25-2 in singles.

She returned to the tour in August by playing doubles at New Haven, Conn., then went 13-1 the rest of the season at three singles tournaments, taking two titles.

"I can't believe that 'Supermom' is back," said Mary Joe Fernandez, who will work alongside Garrison as a Fed Cup coach in 2008 and take over as captain in 2009. "I can't believe Lindsay is playing -- and playing so well."

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