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Tennis Icon Lindsay Davenport Talks Travel

Hilary Sheinbaum, Contributor

Lindsay Davenport Tennis Photo

There’s something about fall and tennis that go hand-in-hand. That’s probably what got us thinking about Lindsay Davenport, who you may know as the tennis champ who was ranked #1 for 98 weeks of her career. So, what is she up to now? Well, besides continuing to be at the top of her personal game, a whole lot of travel.

Lindsay Davenport is a tennis icon and a world traveler. As a young athlete, she was traveling internationally as early as 14 years old and visited places near and far such as Australia, London, and of course, New York City.

Recently, on a trip to New York City for her partnership with Chase, we got to rally with her (get it?) over some fun questions. Lindsay shares her upcoming vacation plans and about how she likes to travel. (Ahem, no checked baggage, please). In case you were wondering, here’s what the tennis star, mom of four, and recent Floridian had to say about travel, NYC restaurants, and her favorite souvenir. (For what it’s worth: it’s not something you can buy.)

Hilary: Tell us all about the Sapphire tennis clinics.

Lindsay: Clinics are taught by myself and fellow tennis pro-James Blake, who I admire very much on the court! We’re teaching these 45-minute clinics on a tennis court constructed solely for/during the U.S. Open on the roof of Pier 17 in NYC’s beautiful Seaport district. There’s a view of the East River and Brooklyn Bridge, and it’s such a cool, elevated experience Chase Sapphire is providing for their Reserve cardmembers.

I’m also excited to head down to the Seaport Sapphire Lounge across the street after I’m done teaching the clinics to cool down and grab a free drink available to clinic attendees. The lounge is accessible to Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve cardmembers and will be playing tennis on ESPN, serving up my favorite Honey Deuce cocktail, and incorporating tennis-themed touches throughout the space. What a great way to end the day!

Hilary: When you played in the US Open, what were your favorite NYC restaurants? What are they now?

Lindsay: I had many favorite restaurants when I played in NYC. One was Fred’s at Barney’s which sadly is no longer open. I loved going there for lunch on my days off. Another go to still to this day is Rosa Mexicano because I love Mexican food and love the atmosphere. Another go to every year is Smith & Wollensky for their great steaks and sides.

Hilary: When you travel now, what are your non-negotiables in your carry-on?

Lindsay: I always travel with a good tinted moisturizer to give my skin some coverage. I take a lot of red eyes, so I always travel with an eye mask to try and minimize looking tired. A really soft, comfy sweater, even in summer, so I feel more cozy on the plane or in case it gets cold on board.

Hilary: Are you a baggage checker or carry-on only?

Lindsay: I always try to just carry on, and I have gotten quite good at using every inch of space on my little roller carry on. It’s always great to have the flexibility of changing flight, which is much more difficult if you have checked luggage, and it also saves time at the airport.

Hilary: What was the best or most luxurious spa treatment you have tried abroad?

Lindsay: Paris has amazing facialists. I am always on the lookout for great facials. They are by far my favorite spa treatment.

Hilary: What is your fitness regimen like these days?

Lindsay: Not as good as it used to be. I am trying to carve out more time and make it a priority, but between work and 4 kids it can be tough. I got a little burned out of going to gyms after 17 years of being a pro tennis player, so I try to walk every day and stay active with my kids.

Hilary: What is your favorite destination that you’ve ever been to?

Lindsay: I have been so fortunate to do so much traveling in my life and started traveling internationally at 14 for tennis, so I have been really blessed to see so much. I am more of a tropics kind of gal, so I absolutely loved Bali. The scenery was gorgeous and the people were so friendly. I also enjoy visiting Paris and Rome and walking around those historic cities.

Hilary: Where will you be traveling this fall, and what are you most looking forward to?

Lindsay: My husband and I are planning a trip to Turks & Caicos to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary and we are going to Hawaii to celebrate the New Year.

Hilary: Where is your favorite place to play tennis? Where is your favorite place to watch tennis?

Lindsay: Playing in Australia was always the most fun for me. The tennis tour starts the year down under every January, so I was always happy to leave winter behind at home and go to the summer in Australia. The fans were always excited to have tennis return every year and it’s a gorgeous country.

I love watching tennis in London at Wimbledon. There is something about the tradition there and getting to experience it all. As a past champion, I can watch from the Royal Box every year and that is so special. You get to have a formal, fun lunch before in the dining room with very interesting people and then get to watch Centre Court and take in the historic surroundings.

Hilary: What is the most spontaneous travel adventure you’ve been on?

Lindsay: Being a pro athlete requires you to be very detailed and lead a pretty structured life. It was very hard for me to be spontaneous when I was competing, but once I retired it was easier to be more adventurous. After 17 years of international travel for my job, we tend to stay a bit more stateside now.

We decided in just a few days that we were going to take our kids and move to Florida. We wanted to try something different and raise them in a different environment, so we bought a house over the internet, packed up our things, loaded up our car with our kids and dogs and drove from California to Florida.

I had never driven across the country so it was a lot of fun. Our first stop was Sedona, AZ, and that town was magical. We stayed there for a few days exploring and hiking. Then our next stop was Sante Fe, NM, and that was also a joy to experience. Those two places felt magical and so peaceful. We then went on to spend time in Texas and Louisiana before continuing on to Florida.

Hilary: Tell us about your favorite souvenir. This can be something you purchased or something that was given to you. Why is it special?

Lindsay: My favorite souvenir is my Gold medal I won at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Of course not your traditional souvenir. It was a magical few weeks there when I was 20 years old.

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