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Lindsay laughs off injury

There are occupational hazards in sports. The phrases “tennis elbow”, “surgery to repair the ACL” or “torn rotator cuff'” generate a chill of recognition in anyone involved, be it a recreational or professional player.

An inflamed nerve between the toes generates no such shudder. So Lindsay Davenport, who has a very sore toe on her left foot, laughed when she looked up information about her most recent affliction on the Internet.

“It’s a common injury in women who wear high heels,” she said. “It’s very weird, but very painful.”

Fashion models sashaying down the runway get this sort of thing, not tennis players running, or in some cases, sashaying, around the court.

Davenport had to shake her head about the injury that put her out of the French Open in the second set against Conchita Martinez in the fourth round, saying, “It’s just a very bizarre chapter in my life, (but) they’re very confident it will be fine through November.”

Surgery will be required eventually, but Davenport is planning on a serious effort at Wimbledon and is playing the grass-court tune-up event in Eastbourne this week. She practised on grass at La Costa last week and spoke to reporters about her preparations and the Acura Classic there in July.

Off the court, she consulted with doctors at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic, received a shot of cortisone, and is wearing orthotics in hard-court shoes with a tread for grass courts. Rest, she said, does not ease the pain and it can flare up with relative unpredictability.

“It can be fine for an hour or 30 minutes (but) whatever motion makes it become inflamed, it doesn’t go away,” she said. “It’s a very sharp pain.”

Davenport is trying to make it through at least the US Open and the season-ending WTA Championships at Staples Center in Los Angeles before having the surgery.

Despite the injury, she remained upbeat, talking about her wedding in April and partnership with her new coach, Adam Peterson.

Davenport, who is seeded fifth at Wimbledon, is still trying to reach the level she was at in 2001, before her career-threatening knee injury. That resulted in a nine-month absence from the Tour and many in the top 10 had improved dramatically when she returned in July, 2002.

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