Tennis pro Lindsay Davenport serves up what she loves most about living in Laguna Beach.–By Ashley Breeding and Rachel Neubeck
LBM: How did you get involved with World Team Tennis?
LD: My first season was 19 years ago with a team in Sacramento. Over the years it’s been one of the most fun things I’ve done with tennis. I’m excited to play here in Orange County—being from here and living here, it’s a great fit and I was really excited that the stars aligned where I could play in my hometown again.
LBM: How do you feel about The Breakers’ move indoors to the Brandt Centre?
LD: I wasn’t sure about it at first because I’ve never played tennis indoors in Southern California, but now that I’ve seen the plan and been there a few times, I really think it’s going to be a great venue. It gets really loud in there … and they encourage cheering … which is a great thing for the fans. It’s all about the fans’ experience.
LBM: What are some benefits of WTT versus singles tennis?
LD: One of the hardest things about tennis is that you’re so alone out on the court. It takes a specific type of personality (especially at a young age) that can handle being out there. A lot of times it’s not that much fun when you’re out there by yourself losing. … It would be a lot more fun, I’d always say, if I had teammates. There have been only a few opportunities in my entire tennis career where I’ve been able to have teammates, and team tennis has been one of them, and that’s why I’ve played so many years.
LBM: How do you balance such a busy career with family?
LD: Everything is so crazy [in the summer months]. Literally, everything is organized now for all of my kids now through mid-August, so everyone is happy and adjusted and has schedules. Fortunately, my mom lives around the corner and has the summers off, so she helps us a lot. But I’m also really lucky that my main busy time is in the summer when my kids are [often] free to go with me. It’s exciting to share it with them. They understand [my schedule] more as they get older, and it’s also given them these amazing opportunities to travel all around the world.
LBM: This is an Olympic year. Can you tell us about your Olympic experience?
LD: The Olympics are such a big deal in my life and in my household. My dad was an Olympian too, so it’s always been a big deal in our house. Being able to be on the team in 1996 was mind-blowing; I went on to win the gold medal, which was such a big surprise … and such a source of pride for my entire family. I’m so excited that London is just a couple of months away. … You never know who is going to shine and become the superstar, and that’s part of the beauty of watching … seeing who steps up to the plate for the challenge.
LBM: What do you like most about being a local?
LD: I’ve lived in Laguna for 13 years now. My husband grew up here. We actually live across the street from the house he grew up in, where his parents still live. I love Laguna because it’s one of the most beautiful towns in the world, but there’s also a laid-back feeling when you walk the streets.
LBM: In what way is it laid-back?
LD: It’s not pretentious like some of the surrounding towns. … People are very casual—you don’t feel you have to dress a certain way to fit in … I love that we can wear flip-flops or casual clothes. It’s so great for us to have that sense of normalcy and not be so fancy. You can be yourself and do whatever you want just outside your home.
LBM: What are some of your favorite hangouts in town?
LD: I love walking around (with my family) … eating at Zinc Café … I always grocery shop at Whole Foods. My kids love Casey’s Cupcakes. We get ice cream around the corner at Gelato Paradiso—we call it “drive- through” ice cream. We do the farmer’s market most Saturday mornings and go pick out our vegetables for the week. We truly love Laguna and the lifestyle, and supporting the locals.
LBM: So it’s a great place to raise your kids?
LD: I couldn’t ask to raise my kids in a better town. I love that we have this great little downtown area with local businesses that’s very cute and safe to walk around.
LBM: Do you and your family have a favorite tennis court in town you like to play?
LD: We’ve got some courts in the community where we live, so most of the time we just play there. Most of the time it’s with my husband. We’ll go down there when my son has a lesson on the court next to us—he has a lesson with someone else because he doesn’t listen to us so well. I like to keep everything very close; I don’t like to spend much time in the car. LBM