Class of 2014
World No. 1 (1998)
Grand Slam Results
6-time major champion, 14-time finalist
Overall Record: 1140- 310
Singles Record: 753-194
Doubles Record: 387-116
Year-End No. 1
1998, 2001, 2004, 2005
Gold Medal in Women’s Singles at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games
Member of the U.S. Fed Cup Team 1993-2000, 2002, 2005, 2008
Member of the U.S. Championship Fed Cup Team 1996, 1999, 2000
Overall Record 33-3
Singles Record 26-3
Doubles Record 7-0
For a player who was ranked No. 1 in the world for 98 weeks and a year-end No. 1 four times in 1998, 2001, 2004, and 2005, Lindsay Ann Davenport may be the most unassuming and unabashed champion among the enshrinees in Newport. Since 1975, the modest Davenport is one of only five female players who have ended the year ranked No. 1 in the world, joining an illustrious list featuring Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, and Serena Williams.
As President Theodore Roosevelt famously said in describing his foreign policy, “speak softly and carry a big stick.” Words apropos for soft spoken, yet hard-hitting and big-serving Davenport who won three major singles titles (was a finalist in four others) and three major doubles championships (was a finalist in 10 others). In a career that spanned 17 years, from 1993 to 2010, Davenport won the 1996 Olympic Gold Medal and earned 55 singles and 38 doubles championships. Her 55 singles titles are tied with Virginia Wade for seventh best in the Open era. On February 22, 2006, she became just the eighth female player in Women’s Tennis Association history to win 700 matches, doing so by defeating Elena Likhovtseva in the second round of the Dubai Tournament, 6-0, 6-0. She finished her career 753-194 in singles and 387-116 in doubles.
At her induction ceremony, Chris Evert described the 6-foot-3 Davenport’s game as being “so loud, so strong, and aggressive.”
Davenport was a power baseliner. She built her game on a crushing forehand, deep and hard-to-handle. Her two-handed backhand was compact and clean, an often overlooked weapon – she could hit uncontested winners from that side as competently as her forehand. Davenport’s court placement was superb; shots hit into the corner were usually outright winners or defensive returns that she would follow to net and emphatically put away. Her height helped enhance a powerful flat serve that she placed anywhere in the service box. “Hitting the ball was always something that came very natural to me,” Davenport said in her induction acceptance speech on July 14, 2014. “It happened at a young age … It took me a very long time to put that together, probably 20 years after I first started playing. But that’s what made it so fun, was the sound, what I could do with the shots, see how hard I could hit them.”
She hit hard, played hard and her facial expression on court oozed focus and determination. When TENNIS Magazine released its list of the 40 greatest players of the tennis era, Davenport was ranked 29th. “She likes to hit the ball hard and into the corner,” explained Gabriela Sabatini, a player who played with pace and power, “very, very hard.”
Davenport, who turned professional after finishing high school in 1993, was named Rookie of the Year by both TENNIS Magazine and World Team Tennis. She won two major doubles titles before breaking through on the singles side. She captured the 1996 French Open alongside Mary Joe Fernández over Gigi Fernández and Natasha Zvereva, 6-2, 6-1. She provided American tennis fans with a glimpse of the future when in 1997 she teamed with Czech Jana Novotná to take the US Open over Fernández and Zvereva, 6-3, 6-4. She earned a third straight-sets major championship in 1999 at Wimbledon, teaming with fellow American Corina Morariu in a 6-4, 6-4 victory over South African Mariaan de Swardt and Ukraine star Elena Tatarkova. Six of Davenport’s 10 doubles finals appearances came at the Australian Open.
Davenport’s singles success came in a tight three-year span, when she won the 1998 US Open, the 1999 Wimbledon Ladies Singles Championship, and the 2000 Australian Open – all impressively in straight sets. As the No. 2 seed, she defeated No. 1 seed Martina Hingis at the US Open (6-3, 7-5) and again at the Australian Open (6-1, 7-5), where both the seeding and outcome was the same. The 1999 Wimbledon title over Steffi Graf was perhaps her most impressive championship. Davenport didn’t lose a set throughout the fortnight and registered a tight 6-4, 7-5 victory. It was the last major the incomparable Graf would ever play. Davenport would play in four subsequent major finals – two Wimbledon, one US, and one Australian – and in each case was thwarted by a Williams sister. Venus defeated her at the 2000 (6-3, 7-6) and 2005 (6-4, 6-7, 7-9) Wimbledon finals, and at the 2000 US Open (6-4, 7-5). Serena was a 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 winner at the 2005 Australian Open.
Davenport won the Gold Medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, defeating Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario, 7-6, 6-2. She played on the U.S. Fed Cup team for ten years (1993-2000, 2002, 2005, 2008), leading the Americans to titles in 1996, 1999, and 2000. Davenport compiled a 26-3 record in singles and a 7-0 mark in doubles.
At her 2014 induction ceremony in Newport, fellow classmate Jane Brown Grimes said, “She has meant a lot to women’s tennis. I consider her the quintessential power tennis for women’s tennis. She led the pack in changing the game … Also for U.S. tennis she was the American girl, the girl next door and always very humble. For me, she has been an absolute paragon and I hope there’s another Lindsay Davenport out there coming along because she’s done a tremendous amount for American tennis and women’s tennis.”
Davenport has extended her career in tennis post-retirement, working as a coach and currently as a broadcaster for Tennis Channel.
Australian Open: W 2000
French Open: SF 1998
Wimbledon: W 1999
US Open: W 1998
Australian Open: F 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2005
French Open: W 1996
Wimbledon: W 1999
US Open: W 1997
Australian Open: SF 1995
Wimbledon: SF 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2004