Lindsay Davenport joins female coaches in pro tennis
NEW YORK (AP):
Lindsay Davenport sat on the edge of her seat in the coaching box at Arthur Ashe Stadium, watching her player compete in the US Open. The former number one and winner of three Grand Slam singles titles is among a handful of female coaches in professional tennis. While she's the only female coaching a Top 20 player on the women's tour, more former players are offering their expertise during Grand Slam tournaments.
Madison Keys, coached by Davenport, defeated Elise Mertens 6-3, 7-6 (6) during the first week of the US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The ESPN cameras frequently showed the reaction of Davenport and Kim Clijsters, seated courtside in support of a Belgian player who trains at her academy.
"You've got to see it to be it," King said. "The more coaches the better and the more girls that see it on TV, the better."
Mary Joe Fernandez, a former player, U.S. Fed Cup coach and current ESPN commentator, agreed that more exposure helps, "especially when a Lindsay or Martina (Navratilova) or (Amelie) Mauresmo, high-profile players, become coaches."
A winner of 55 career titles in 17 years on tour, the 41-year-old Davenport knows the pressure players face on and off the court and how to deal with injuries. Keys missed the first two months of the season because of wrist surgery; she's now returning to form as a powerful baseliner, similar to her coach.
"Lindsay has been amazing. She's always helped me in the big moments, just because she's been there and understands," said Keys of the 2006 U.S. Open winner. "So having her perspective in what she did to handle those situations has been really beneficial. Davenport has four children and shares the coaching duties with Thomas Hogstedt.