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Davenport nearing the end

Matthew Cronin | July 14, 2004 11:56 IST

Two-time Stanford winner Lindsay Davenport is probably making her last appearance at the Bank of the West Classic but she has not completely committed herself yet to retiring at year's end.

"I don't want that looming over my head all summer when it's not 100 percent," said Davenport, who stated after her semi-final loss to Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon that it was likely her last match at the All England Club.

Lindsay Davenport"Is that the way I'm going? Yeah, most likely. But I don't want to be playing and thinking this is the last time I'll be at Stanford or the U.S. Open. I don't think I could handle that."

Davenport re-injured her surgically repaired right knee at the French Open in a straight-set loss to eventual finalist Elena Dementieva.

The three-times Grand Slam champion was told by her doctor that a second operation will probably be required in the future. She has been forced to cut down on her off-court training and has to be careful not to overplay, which is why the 1996 gold medallist is skipping the Athens Olympic Games.

"I have to take it easy," said Davenport, who will play her first match in Stanford, California on Thursday.

"I have to slow the training and see how much tennis my knee can take. I don't want to keep playing if I can't train properly and go on court and be able to do what it takes to be successful. Then you're always fighting your body to make it work."


The 28-year-old American has not reached the final of a Grand Slam since winning the 2000 Australian Open, but was encouraged by her play in her three-set loss to Sharapova at Wimbledon.

If her knee holds up, she thinks she has a legitimate shot to win her second U.S. Open title.

"I give Maria a lot of high marks," she said. "I've lost a lot of matches when I've been up and it's been on my shoulders, but I didn't feel like that when I walked away from that match. It was encouraging."

When she retires, Davenport plans on starting a family with her husband, former collegiate tennis standout Jon Leach. But for the next five months, she plans on keeping her mind focused on court.

"It gets a little sad sometimes but is exciting other times," she said. "If I were to think this was my last summer playing all these tournaments, I would get really upset.

"That tells me I haven't decided what to do. On the other hand, it will be so great next year not to have to worry about what I eat, how many times I go to the gym and plane tickets.

"It will be a let-down but on the other side it will be nice to relax more in everyday living."

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