Jennifer Capriati

Jennifer Capriati

Infobox Tennis player
playername = Jennifer Capriati

nickname =
country = USA
residence = Wesley Chapel, FL
datebirth = birth date and age|mf=yes|1976|3|29
placebirth = New York, New York
height = 5' 7" (1.70 m)
weight = 160 lb (73 kg)
turnedpro = March 5, 1990
retired =
plays = Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
careerprizemoney = $10,206,639
singlesrecord = 430–176
singlestitles = 14
highestsinglesranking = No. 1 (October 15, 2001)
AustralianOpenresult = W (2001, 2002)
FrenchOpenresult = W (2001)
Wimbledonresult = SF (1991, 2001)
USOpenresult = SF (1991, 2001, 2003, 2004)
Othertournaments = Yes
Olympicsresult = Gold medal (1992)
doublesrecord = 66–50
doublestitles = 1
highestdoublesranking = No. 28 (March 2, 1992)
updated = February 5, 2007

Jennifer Marie Capriati (born March 29, 1976, in New York City) is a former World No. 1 women's tennis player from the United States. She won three Grand Slam singles titles (2001 and 2002 Australian Open, 2001 French Open), and the women's singles gold medal at the 1992 Olympic Games.

Introduction to tennis

While she was still a toddler, Jennifer was introduced to tennis by her father, Stefano Capriati, an Italian-American boxer turned tennis coach, who has continued to coach her in her later professional career.

In 1986, when Jennifer's aptitude for tennis was beginning to show, her family moved to Florida. At the age of ten, Jennifer enrolled in an intense training program run by Jimmy Evert (whose daughter Chris Evert also became a world class tennis player).

Early career

In 1989, Capriati became the youngest player to win the French Open junior singles title at the age of 13 years and 2 months. (The record stood until 1993, when Martina Hingis won the title as a 12-year-old.) She then went on to win the junior singles title at the 1989 U.S. Open and the junior doubles titles at both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, partnering with Meredith McGrath. On September 14, 1989, she became the youngest ever Wightman Cup player, [cite web| title = International Team: Wightman Cup| publisher = Tennis Lovers| url =| accessdate =2008-05-26 ] playing against Clare Wood, and the first player for four years to win a Wightman Cup match 6–0, 6–0. [cite web| last = Carter| first = Bob| title = Teenage sensation became destiny's child| publisher = ESPN| date = 2005-04-22| url =
accessdate =2008-05-26

On March 5, 1990, three weeks before her 14th birthday, she became a professional tennis player. In her debut tournament at Boca Raton, Florida, she defeated four seeded players while becoming the youngest-ever player to reach a tour final, where she lost 6–4, 7–5 to Gabriela Sabatini. Despite the loss, her debut was on the cover of "Sports Illustrated" the following week. Three months later, she became the youngest-ever semifinalist at the French Open (aged 14 years and 2 months), where she lost to the eventual champion, Monica Seles. She then reached the fourth round at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open that year and won her first professional singles title in October at San Juan, Puerto Rico. She finished the year ranked eighth in the world.

In 1991, she reached the semifinals at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. She was Wimbledon's youngest-ever semifinalist after defeating the then-defending champion Martina Navratilova in the quarterfinals, which was Navratilova's earliest Wimbledon exit in 14 years. Capriati won two singles titles that year and her only tour doubles title (in Rome, partnering with Seles).

The biggest moment of Capriati's early career came in 1992, when she won the women's singles gold medal at the Olympic Games in Barcelona. In the final, she defeated Steffi Graf (who was the gold medalist four years earlier in Seoul) 3–6, 6–3, 6–4.

Personal challenges

Amid mounting pressures to live up to the expectations placed on her, and a first round loss to Leila Meskhi at the 1993 U.S. Open, Capriati took a break from competitive tennis in late 1993. She soon ran into personal and legal troubles. She was involved in a shoplifting incident in December 1993, and in May 1994 was arrested for marijuana possession. In November 1994, Capriati attempted a return to the tour at a tournament in Philadelphia. The return lasted just one match, losing to Anke Huber in the first round. After that, she did not play on the tour for 15 months. Her arrests and associated mugshot made her "the poster child for burned-out sports prodigies," to quote the "Chicago Sun-Times". [ "The Rise and Fall and Rise of Jennifer Capriati"] , "Chicago Sun-Times, January 26, 2001, by Greg Couch. Retrieved May 29, 2007 from] [ "At 14, Jennifer Capriati was a millionaire tennis sensation. At 16..."] , "The Independent (London), June 22, 2001 by Brian Viner] . Retrieved May 29, 2007 from]

A comeback career

With her career seemingly in doubt, Capriati returned to the tour in February 1996 and began a steady rise that would culminate in the World No. 1 ranking, but not before several false starts. It was not until May 1999 that she finally won her first tournament in six years, at Strasbourg.

Nearly 11 years after she had started playing on the tour, Capriati finally made her Grand Slam breakthrough. From having gone as long as five years without winning a singles match at a Grand Slam, Capriati, the 12th seed, captured the 2001 Australian Open title, defeating then-World No. 1 player Martina Hingis 6–4, 6–3. Along the way, she defeated then-World No. 4 Monica Seles in the quarterfinals and then-World No. 2 Lindsay Davenport in the semifinals. Capriati followed up by capturing the French Open title five months later, beating Kim Clijsters 1–6, 6–4, 12–10. She reached the semifinals of both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open that year as well, amassing the best Grand Slam singles record for the year. In October 2001, Capriati claimed the World No. 1 ranking.

Capriati won her third Grand Slam title in 2002, when she successfully defended her Australian Open crown. In the final against Hingis, Capriati was down 6–4, 4–0 but battled back to win 4–6, 7–6, 6–2. She saved four championship points during the final, which is the record for most match points saved during a Grand Slam tournament final by the player who ultimately won the match. [ [ Tennis: Capriati's record recovery] ]

In 2003, Capriati reached the U.S. Open semifinals, losing a close match to Belgium's Justine Henin in a third set tiebreak 4–6, 7–5, 7–6(4). The battle concluded well past midnight and left Henin needing medical attention due to dehydration and exhaustion. During the match, Capriati was just two points from victory eleven times.

Capriati has won 14 professional singles titles and 1 doubles title.

In January 2007, Capriati stated she had not given up hopes of a comeback at 30 after undergoing arthroscopic surgery in 2005 and playing her last match in Philadelphia in late 2004. [cite web |url= |title=Capriati dreams of comeback two years on |accessdate=2007-02-01 |format= |work=Telugal Portal |date=January 17, 2007]

In an interview with the New York Daily News in July 2007, Capriati admitted to suffering from depression and having suicidal thoughts. She said, "When I stopped playing, that's when all this came crumbling down. If I don't have [tennis] , who am I? What am I? I was just alive because of this. I've had to ask, 'Well, who is Jennifer? What if this is gone now?' I can't live off of this the rest of my life." She underwent a third shoulder surgery in 2007, and whether she will ever return to the tennis tour is still unclear. [ [ Jennifer Capriati tries to beat her demons] ]


In 2002, she received an ESPY for Comeback Player of the Year. That year's nominees included such high profile talent as Mario Lemieux and Michael Jordan.

In 2005, TENNIS Magazine put her in 36th place in its list of 40 Greatest Players of the TENNIS era.

Playing style

Capriati was one of the first big-hitters to emerge on the women's tennis tour in the 1990s, along with players such as Lindsay Davenport, Mary Pierce, and Monica Seles. Her game was built around her flat forehand, which could be devastating when hit hard.

When she made a comeback in 2001, Capriati was a faster and more agile player than before and was able to run down many more balls.A slight weakness in her game was her second serve, hit with slice, which had a tendency to break down under pressure.

Grand Slam singles finals

Wins (3)

A = did not participate in the tournament

SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played


External links

*wta|id=30200|name=Jennifer Capriati
* [ Fed Cup record]

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