Tennis hall opens doors for Lindsay Davenport

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 12, 2014 at 2:39 pm •  Published: July 12, 2014
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NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — Lindsay Davenport remembers picking up a tennis racket as a child and the feeling that came with the ease of a powerful return. After giving up on two other sports, she found something she liked.

On Saturday, she reached her sport's highest honor, with her induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Davenport spent 98 weeks ranked No. 1. She won the 1998 U.S. Open, 1999 Wimbledon, 2000 Australian Open and 1996 Olympic gold medal to go with three major doubles titles. She finished the end of four years ranked No. 1.

Chris Evert was among those at the ceremony. The tennis great described Davenport's game as "so loud, so strong and aggressive."

Davenport enters the hall with five-time Paralympic medalist Chantal Vandierendonck in the recent player category, coach Nick Bollettieri, executive Jane Brown Grimes and broadcaster John Barrett in the contributor category.

"Hitting the ball and making contact was always something that came very natural to me," Davenport said during a news conference. "It was a blessing. It happened at a very young age. I didn't realize that it was that hard to do and I had a special talent, and it took a long time to put that altogether.

"That's what made it so fun to me, the sound and what I could do with the shots and see how hard I could hit them," she added. "Everything else about the game took work and was a struggle, but that was something and that was the reason why I fell in love with it."

She was presented by friend and former ATP pro Justin Gimelstob, who played against her at a clinic.

"An incredible talent well on her way to becoming an incredible ball striker, either man or women to ever hold a racket," he said.

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