Davenport Mulls Comeback After Pregnancy

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 26, 2005

LOS ANGELES – Three-time major champion Lindsay Davenport is considering a comeback after being off the pro tour since the end of last year while awaiting the birth of her first child.

“I hope so,” she said Tuesday on a conference call from her Laguna Beach home. “I haven’t made any final decisions. It’s a small goal I’m working towards.”

A comeback is alluring in part because Davenport would like to play in next year’s Beijing Olympics. She won a gold medal in singles at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

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“The thing that intrigues me is the Olympics and trying to go back as a mother,” she said.

Davenport gave birth via Caesarean section to son Jagger on June 10 _ two days after her 31st birthday.

She’ll play her first match since September on Saturday night as a member of the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis.

“I’m feeling great. All of a sudden, things have healed really quickly,” she said. “It’s been so much fun preparing. I’ve been hitting with my husband.”

Davenport will play doubles with Elena Likhovtseva and mixed doubles with Mark Knowles against the Newport Beach Breakers. Also on the Capitals, coached by Wayne Bryan, are Sam Warburg and Michelle Larcher de Brito.

The match in Sacramento will be Davenport’s only appearance because the league’s regular season ends July 25.

“I looked at it as really a kind of fun challenge,” she said. “To see if I could come back so quickly and give me a kick in the pants and see if I could be active.”

Her son was born three weeks early due to unspecified complications, although he is healthy. She said Jagger’s name “has nothing to do with the Rolling Stones”; she and husband Jonathan Leach just wanted an unusual name.

Davenport plans to bring her son, husband, nanny and other family members to Sacramento.

“I’m hoping he’ll bring me even more joy on the road and more fun,” she said. “The challenge for me is about balancing everything. I totally understand the working mom’s guilt. If I go practice, I feel bad.”

Davenport said her husband supports a possible comeback.

“He thinks it’s great,” she said. “He’s totally encouraging me to do whatever I want.”

Davenport, the world’s former No. 1 player, doesn’t foresee her son on the pro tennis tour. Her father-in-law is former Southern California tennis coach Dick Leach and her brother-in-law Rick played on the ATP Tour.

“It’s probably in his best interest to not follow the tennis gene,” she said. “Hopefully, he’ll be involved in some kind of sports.”

A service of the Associated Press(AP)