Tuesday, July 29
King objects to Davenport's volley

ESPN.com

WIMBLEDON, England -- When Lindsay Davenport sounded off at press conferences this week about Billie Jean King not allowing her to play Fed Cup matches beginning July 19, the behind-the-scenes consensus was that we weren't getting the whole story.

There was, apparently, an e-mail on May 19 where Davenport said her mother was going to be having surgery and she'd be unable to play this time. But with King's publicist only releasing a dry statement through the USTA, there was no way to tell until King arrived in London on Thursday and confirmed the e-mail.

"When I got that e-mail, I moved on," King said.

She selected Venus Williams, Monica Seles, Meghannn Shaugnessy and Lisa Raymond. All of whom can conceivably be there on Monday as required in time for Tuesday's 9 a.m. team meeting, the start of nonstop activities before play commences on Saturday.

Davenport apparently asked to be added to the team after the members had been announced. She reportedly wanted to be added upon hearing that pal and frequent doubles partner Raymond would be on the team.

"There was never any misunderstanding," King said.

King insists that for the week of Fed Cup, the players don't have outside practices. It's about the team. Total commitment.

"If you know you want to play Fed Cup, do you think her mother could have done that operation some other time?" she said. "That's a question I didn't get into it with her."

Granted, it's arthroscopic knee surgery. But that means even if Davenport had told King before the team was announced that she wanted to play after all and come a day late, she wouldn't have been allowed to play.

"I've already cut them a lot of slack," King explained. She said the men arrive for Davis Cup on the Sunday before the next week's competition (sometimes Saturday depending on travel distance), but she lets the women come in Monday.

There's been one exception, King said, when Monica Seles had a family emergency. But that was B.C. (Before Capriati). Any since King kicked Jennifer Capriati off the team in April 2002 for violating team rules?

"No exceptions," she said.

King said she spoke to Davenport earlier and "we're back in good form," King said it was "very inappropriate" for Davenport to speak to the media first.

"You talked to the media for two to three days and didn't have the courtesy to sock it to me," King said she told Davenport. Silence from Davenport. "I was very unhappy and she knew it, about airing her feelings with you (the media) & I told her that she truly hurt my feelings by not picking up the phone."

Although Davenport was still at Wimbledon, she declined an interview request.

Cynthia Faulkner is the tennis editor at ESPN.com