Atlanta's Lindsay Lee-Waters Speaks Candidly with

March 30, 2003 12:29 PM

By Ron Cioffi,

Few athletes who talk of the impact of family have as much baggage as Lindsay Lee-Waters. Baggage meaning bringing along her husband/coach and a two-year-old daughter on the WTA Tour.

Lee-Waters took the long haul this week from her metro Atlanta home to Sarasota, Fla., driving long hours from northern Georgia to the city on the Gulf Coast. She is also been riding a road that started with a quick rise to a Top-40 ranking in 1996 and then the fall to No. 533 after the birth of her daughter, Sevyn in 2001.

Lindsay Lee-Waters in her 1st Round loss to Canada's Jana Nejedly. Photo by Ron Cioffi.
This week’s tournament had looked promising for the long-time Atlanta resident who was seeded No. 1 in the local Challenger tournament. The only dark cloud was the draw. Lee-Waters’s first-round opponent was Canada’s red-hot Jana Nejedly, who had just won the Challenger last week in Redding, Calif. Nejedly, ranked 242,blasted through two easy sets, dominating her opponent with a 6-3, 6-1 win.

“My grandma could have beaten me today,” Lindsay said. “It was one of those days. I haven’t had one of those in a year. I couldn’t find the court.”

Nejedly said, “I felt pretty confident coming in” to the match after her victory last week. “Our game styles match up pretty well. I got ahead early and stayed on top of her.”

Lee-Waters said the hometown crowd wasn’t any help. “I’ve never played great in Atlanta. … It’s nice [to be playing in your hometown] but it can be added pressure. You want to do well for them.”

Crowd might not be the word to describe attendance at this or any Challenger. No matter how inviting it is to watch some of the top 100 to 500 players in the world for free, the minor league circuit often draws more support personnel than spectators.

For instance, this tournament was raising money for the Neighborhood Charter School, a 98-year-old Atlanta elementary school that was destroyed by fire last fall. When 40-odd students filed into the stadium court, the number of fans more than doubled. The kids were so pleased with the action that they applauded for the first untouched serve they saw. Too bad it was a first-serve fault, not an ace.

Read the conclusion of this article at