The hotel looked familiar, Lindsay Davenport said, when she pulled up Tuesday. But the former world No. 1 and Sacramento Capital, playing this summer for the Orange County Breakers, needed a moment to place it.
"I can see this part of the parking lot where, when we (the Capitals) lost in the playoffs in '93, one of the guys on our team was so mad he was breaking rackets," Davenport said. "I saw that and was like, oh, my God, this is where we stayed 19 years ago."
The two decades since enfold the arc of a career for Davenport, the tall, good-natured Californian who won three Grand Slam singles titles between 1998 and 2000 and reached No. 1 rankings in singles and doubles.
Davenport, who last played a singles match on tour nearly four years ago, is playing in her 10th season of World TeamTennis and her third with the Breakers, who defeated the host Capitals on Tuesday night 19-16.
Much of her time now is spent with her three children or as a commentator for the Tennis Channel, Davenport said. But she said her retirement is not a restless one.
"I mean, of course, it was great," she said of her playing career. "I don't miss it. It's not like I was in my late 20s or early 30s and an injury took me out. I had a lot of years to play and appreciate it."
Applauded loudly when introduced before the match, Davenport helped lead the Breakers to wins in mixed doubles and women's doubles. At one point in the first set, a boy walked on-court to denote a timeout, stalling play with Orange County ready to serve. Davenport laughed and asked him for a high-five.
She also entered as a late replacement in women's singles, a set the Capitals' Vania King won handily, 5-0. After King executed a soft drop shot to win one of their first points, Davenport gave a wry smile.
Davenport, 36, first appeared on tour as a 15-year-old in 1991, cracked the top 10 in 1994 and captured Olympic gold two years later in Atlanta. She won a total of 55 singles titles before announcing in 2008 that she would leave the tour for the birth of her second child.
Asked Tuesday where she believes her career places her in the pantheon of women's tennis, Davenport replied: "A really good player, definitely not a great, of the sport."
"I wouldn't put myself down as one of the all-time greats," she said. "I think that is really a level for a Steffi Graf, a Martina Navratilova, a Chris Evert. The Williams sisters are rewriting it Serena certainly.
"There's certainly a next tier that would probably be like an Arantxa Sanchez (Vicario) , myself, a (Jennifer) Capriati. Not that we weren't great players, but all-time greats, I would definitely leave more exclusive."
Team tennis, Davenport said, is now one of the few occasions for which she will pick up a racket.
"I have three kids, I can't exactly tell them, oh, I'm going to go hit for fun," Davenport said, smiling. "I can justify it more in mind like it's a job, I've got to go play in front of people and I need to go hit for an hour. But they're 5, 3 and 6 months, so we're very busy with that."
Working as a commentator, though, has allowed her to stay involved with the sport.
"I like it because I've always legitimately loved tennis," Davenport said.