Davenport overwhelmed by her second chance

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BEIJING, Sep 22 (Reuters) A year ago, Lindsay Davenport cut a disconsolate figure as she sat in the bowels of the Beijing Tennis Centre after losing to then world number one Amelie Mauresmo in the quarter-finals of the China Open.

It turned out to be the three-times major winner's last match before she announced her retirement and she spoke to reporters about injury, her accomplishments and just how long her illustrious career had been.

Cut to the same room 365 days later and Davenport was a woman transformed, even a semi-final defeat to Jelena Jankovic in her second tournament after her return could not dull her joy at her new lease of life in tennis.

''It's just so amazing how wonderful my life has changed in just a year, you never know what changes life brings and I was really lucky that my life changed for the better,'' she said.

''So to be back here and playing again is just amazing, I've had so much fun and to have the addition of my son, it's kind of of overwhelming.

''I just feel incredibly fortunate... I've been given this second time around.'' Just three months after giving birth to baby Jagger, Davenport made an astonishing comeback with a tournament win in Bali last week and went on an eight-match winning streak until her loss to world number three Jankovic on Saturday.

The 31-year-old said she would play at most one more tournament this year and still had no clear idea of what she wanted to achieve in her second career.

''I've done well, I've been number one for a really long time, I've won slams and now I'm just playing for extra joy for extra fun,'' she said.

''Whether I do well, or I don't do well, I still get to come off court and I have this really adorable son to play with. It's all really just a bonus.'' One target for the 1996 Olympic gold medallist, however, is to return to China for next year's Beijing Games.

''Yes, I'm excited about doing it,'' she said.

''My husband has never had a chance to experience inside an Olympics so the whole family's really excited about coming back here next summer.'' REUTERS SSC KP1438

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