Lindsay Davenport: Billie Jean King had the Biggest Influence on Me



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Lindsay Davenport: Billie Jean King had the Biggest Influence on Me

Former World No. 1 and three-time Grand Slam champion Lindsay Davenport credits tennis legend Billie Jean King for being the biggest influence on her in an interview to the ITFWorld magazine. Speaking about King, who was the pioneer of the WTA Tour, Davenport says, "(She) captures the attention of everyone in the room when she walks in.

More than anybody else she has an ability to get through to people and it is hard not to listen to her." Davenport says King's message to her before her Olympic gold medal match at the 1996 Atlanta Games, where she defeated Spain's Arantxa Sánchez Vicario 7-6(6), 6-2 , helped change her perspective about her career.

"Billie took me aside and said, 'You know this is a big deal tomorrow, don't you?' I had just turned 20 and I was saying things like, 'Yeah, it is so fun here and it's been so great.' She said, 'Yes, that's true, but this is a really big deal in your life.

This is life-changing and you’re going to have to learn how to embrace these kinds of moments and not blow them off and be fine with the silver medal." Davenport says although she is happy with her career, she does sometime wish she would have worked harder during her teenaged years.

"Sometimes I wish I could have those years back to say, 'You have this number of years left so bust your bum for this amount of time." After retiring Davenport also worked as a coach with American Madison Keys and says she tried to pass on what she has learnt from King to the next generation.

"I often tell Madison, 'You have no idea how it (disrespect of male players towards the women) was when I played in the 1990s,I do think it is getting better and when you compare tennis to other women's sports, you realise how far ahead tennis is and how great female tennis players have it."