After Lindsay Davenport gave birth to her first son Jagger last June and she started thinking about a return to competitive tennis, one competition in particular stood out in her mind.
|Lindsay Davenport 225 (Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)|
The 2008 Beijing Olympics was just over a year away, and the three-time Grand Slam champion wanted to be there.
“It (the Beijing Olympics) was probably the first factor, the really, first positive thing that got me thinking about (returning),” Davenport said. “It was like I have 13 months until the Olympics. I figured that's a really long time. I think I can do that and be ready.”
Since her return to the WTA Tour shortly after Jagger’s birth in 2007, Davenport has had a tremendous amount of success, including winning four titles and this week upsetting world No. 2 Ana Ivanovic to reach the fourth round at the prestigious Sony Ericsson Open.
Besides the Olympics, Wimbledon and the US Open are two of the top tournaments on her schedule for 2008. (She will not be competing at Roland Garros.) Davenport won the gold medal in singles at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the 1998 US Open for her first Grand Slam title. Those two titles rank among the top achievements in her career.
“In tennis, it's measured on Grand Slams, so winning the US Open was like a huge, huge achievement,” she said. “But I would think for my family and the Olympics being the first big thing that I won, it always has a special place in my heart. It was so unexpected, too. I wasn't seeded that high, so it was really kind of more of an upset and surprise.”
Davenport’s love for the Olympics goes back to her childhood, when she remembers watching American gymnast Mary Lou Retton win the gold medal in the all-around competition at the 1984 Games.
“My family is an Olympic family. Whenever the Olympics are on -- winter, summer -- when I was growing up it was on our TV all day long,” she said. “I remember sitting there watching Mary Lou Retton win the gold medal live.”