||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2012)|
|Residence||Wesley Chapel, Florida, U.S.|
March 29, 1976 |
New York City, New York
|Height||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
|Turned pro||March 5, 1990|
|Plays||Right-handed (two-handed backhand)|
|Int. Tennis HOF||2012 (member page)|
|Highest ranking||No. 1 (October 15, 2001)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|Australian Open||W (2001, 2002)|
|French Open||W (2001)|
|Wimbledon||SF (1991, 2001)|
|US Open||SF (1991, 2001, 2003, 2004)|
|Championships||SF (2002, 2003)|
|Olympic Games||Gold medal (1992)|
|Highest ranking||No. 28 (March 2, 1992)|
|Last updated on: August 30, 2012.|
|Olympic medal record|
|Competitor for the United States|
Jennifer Maria Capriati (born March 29, 1976) is a retired American professional tennis player. A former World No. 1, she won three women's singles championships in Grand Slam tournaments. Capriati made her professional debut in 1990 at the age of 13 years 11 months when she reached the finals of the hard court tournament in Boca Raton, Florida, losing there to Gabriela Sabatini. Capriati reached the semifinals of the French Open in her debut and later became the youngest ever player to crack the top 10 at age 14 years, 235 days in October of that year. Between 1990 and 1993, Capriati won six singles titles, including a Gold Medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, defeating Steffi Graf in the final. Following a first round loss at the 1993 U.S. Open, the burned out Capriati took a 14-month break from competitive pro tennis. Her personal struggles during this time (including arrests for shoplifting and possession of marijuana) were well-documented by the press.
In 1998, Capriati won her first Grand Slam singles match in five years at Wimbledon. During the next two years, Capriati slowly returned to championship form, winning her first title in six years in Strasbourg, France in 1999 and regaining a top 20 ranking. At the 2001 Australian Open, the reinvigorated Capriati became the lowest seed to ever win the championship when she defeated Martina Hingis (ranked number one in the world at the time) in straight sets for her first Grand Slam championship. She also won the French Open that year, claiming the number one ranking in October. After successfully defending her Australian Open crown in 2002, Capriati became a top ten mainstay until injuries derailed her career in 2004.
Capriati won 14 professional singles tournaments during her career, along with one women's doubles championship.
In 2005, Tennis magazine ranked Capriati number 36 in its list of the 40 greatest players in the 40 years of that magazine.
Capriati was one of the first "power players" to emerge on the women's circuit in the early-to-mid-1990s, along with Monica Seles, Lindsay Davenport, and Mary Pierce. Her style of play is characterized by taking the ball early and on the rise, powerful ground-strokes, and an aggressive mindset on the return of service.
Capriati's game was built around her groundstrokes and movement. Her flat forehand, devastating when hit hard, was considered her biggest weapon, especially when she was stretched out wide. She also possessed a solid backhand. She was quick around the court, able to play defense as well as offense. Her biggest weakness was considered to be her serve. Her first serve was powerful, but offset by a wandering ball-toss, and her second serve was considered to be the most vulnerable part of her game. However, Capriati was known to counter her inconsistent serve with her exceptional return of serve.
Capriati was also known for her fierce competitive spirit. In 2002 Hall-of-famer Pam Shriver deemed her as a "war-horse competitor," saying that she was second in mental toughness only to Serena Williams.
Capriati made her professional debut as a 13 year old, reaching the finals of two of her first three pro events, losing to Gabriela Sabatini and Martina Navratilova at Boca Raton and Hilton Head, respectively, earning her first two wins over top ten players (No. 10 Helena Suková and No. 5. Arantxa Sánchez Vicario). She entered the rankings in April, at No. 23. Capriati made her Grand Slam debut at the French Open. She went all the way to the semifinals, losing to eventual champion Monica Seles. She then reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, losing to Steffi Graf. Later in the year Capriati won her first career title in Puerto Rico, defeating Zina Garrison. After this victory Capriati entered the world's top 10. She qualified for the WTA Championships, narrowly losing to Graf in the first round in three sets. She finished her first season as a professional at World No 8.
Throughout the season Capriati set multiple "youngest ever" records. She was the youngest player to reach a tour final, the youngest player to reach the semifinals at the French Open, the youngest seed ever at Wimbledon, and the youngest player to qualify for the season-ending championships. She was also the fourth-youngest player to win a WTA title.
In her second season as a touring pro, Capriati established herself as a consistent top-ten player. She won two singles titles during the summer hard court circuit, defeating World No. 1 Monica Seles in a third set tie-breaker in finals of San Diego, and Katerina Maleeva in straight sets in the final of Toronto. She also reached two Grand Slam semifinals, at Wimbledon and the US Open. At Wimbledon, Capriati defeated 9-time champion Martina Navratilova in the quarterfinals, her earliest exit in 14 years, before losing to Sabatini. At the US Open, Capriati defeated Sabatini in the quarters but lost in the semis to eventual champion Seles after serving for the match twice. Capriati qualified for the year-end championships for the second time, reaching the quarterfinals. She ended the year at No. 6, which would be a career high until 2001.
Capriati also won the only doubles title of her career at the Italian Open, partnering Seles.
Capriati's 1992 season was highlighted by her victory at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, defeating second-seeded Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in the semifinals and coming from a set down to defeat top-seeded Steffi Graf in the match for the gold medal. Capriati next defended her title in San Diego, defeating Conchita Martínez in the finals, in the only time that Capriati won back-to-back singles titles during her career. She reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open (in her debut), at the French Open, and at Wimbledon, and then she lost in the third round at the U.S. Open tournament. In Miami, Capriati ended Monica Seles's streak of 21 consecutive finals by defeating her in the quarterfinals. Capriati finished the year ranked in the top 10 for the third straight year, at number seven.
At her first tournament of the year in Sydney, Capriati defeated third-ranked Sabatini in the semifinals before defeating Anke Huber in the final. For the second straight year she reached the quarterfinals at the first three majors of the year. She reached the final of the Rogers Cup in Montreal, losing to Steffi Graf. At the US Open, the seventh-seeded Capriati lost her opening match to former top 15-player Leila Meskhi, her first loss in the first round of any pro tournament. Following this loss, Capriati decided to take a break from tennis. She finished the year at number 9.
Capriati only played one match in 1994, losing in the first round of Philadelphia to Anke Huber. She fell off the rankings in June. She did not play at all in 1995.
Capriati, unranked, played her first match in 15 months at Essen, where she reached the quarterfinals, losing to Jana Novotná in three sets. She reached her first final in more than three years at Chicago, defeating Monica Seles (who shared the number-one rating) en route, before losing again to Novotná in three sets. Capriati also reached the quarters in the fall at the Zurich Open, defeating Sabatini in the opening round in what would be the last singles match of Sabatini's career. Capriati competed in her first Grand Slam tournaments since 1993 at the French Open and the U.S. Open, losing in the first round of both. Capriati re-appeared on the rankings in April at No. 103, and finished the year inside the top 25, at No. 24.
In January 1997, Capriati reached the final at Sydney, for the second time in her career, defeating World No. 9 Lindsay Davenport en route for her only top 10 win of the year, losing to Martina Hingis in the final. She only reached the quarterfinals at one other tournament, Oklahoma City, where she lost to Davenport. Capriati finished the year at number 66, having played in just three tournaments.
Capriati did not play the first half of 1998. By the spring, she was ranked below the top 200. She accepted a wildcard entry into the clay-court tournament at Hamburg, Germany, where she reached the quarterfinals, but then lost to Martina Hingis (who was ranked number one in the world at that time). Capriati was also a quarterfinalist at Palermo, Italy. In the first round at Wimbledon, Capriati won her first Grand Slam singles match in five years, before losing to Lori McNeil in the second round. Capriati finished 1998 ranked at number 101.
1999 was Capriati's best season in several years. She won her first title in six years at Strasbourg, defeating ninth ranked Nathalie Tauziat in a quarterfinal for her first win over a top 10 player in two years. She defeated Russian Elena Likhovtseva in the final. She won her second title of the year at Quebec City, defeating American Chanda Rubin in the final. She also reached the round of 16 at both Roland Garros and US Open. She finished the year at No. 23.
At the Miami Masters, Capriati defeated World No. 6 Serena Williams for her first win over a player ranked in the top 6 in four years en route to a quarterfinal finish. Shortly after, Capriati was sidelined with right Achilles tendonitis in April and an elbow injury in June.
Capriati had a strong fall season, winning her ninth career title at Luxembourg, defeating Magdalena Maleeva. She also finished runner up in Quebec City to Chanda Rubin and was a semifinalist in Zürich. These results propelled Capriati back into the top 20 for the first time since April 1994. She qualified for the season-ending championships for the first time in seven years. Her year-end ranking was 14, her highest in seven years. Capriati was also a member of the US Fed Cup Team, winning a singles and doubles rubber in the US's victory over Spain in the final.
Capriati was seeded 12th at the 2001 Australian Open. She rallied from a set and a break down to defeat Monica Seles to reach the semis for the second consecutive year, where she dispatched World No. 2 Davenport 6–3, 6–4. In her first Grand Slam final, she dispatched top seed and World No. 1 Martina Hingis in straight sets to win her first Grand Slam singles title. She was the lowest seed to ever win the title, a record that still stands today. She was the first player since Tracy Austin in 1979 to defeat the top two ranked players in straight sets at a major. As a result of this triumph, Capriati re-entered the top 10 in the rankings at No. 7, the longest absence (nearly eight years) from the top 10 in WTA history.
Capriati then reached the finals of the Cellular Cup in Oklahoma City, losing in the final to Seles. After electing not to participate at the 2001 Indian Wells Masters, Capriati reached the final in Miami, losing to Venus Williams (ranked number three in the world) after having failed to convert on eight championship points.
Capriati then embarked on a remarkably successful clay court campaign. She won her second title of the year at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, defeating Hingis in three sets in the final. She then lost in the final of Berlin to Amélie Mauresmo, also in three sets. Seeded fourth at the 2001 French Open, Capriati defeated top seed Hingis in the semis and the 12th seeded Kim Clijsters in the final to win her second consecutive Grand Slam title. Her 1–6, 6–4, 12–10 win over Clijsters had the longest-ever third set in a women's final in the French Open. Capriati was two points away from being defeated four times. She was only the fifth woman in history to win the Australian Open and the French Open consecutively.
At Wimbledon, Capriati rallied from 7–6, 5–3, 30–0 down in the quarters to defeat Serena Williams 6–7(4), 7–5, 6–3. Capriati's 19-match Grand Slam win streak ended in the semis at the hands of eighth seeded Justine Henin. Capriati rebounded at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Ontario, making it to the final before losing to Serena Williams 6–1, 6–7(7), 6–3 after saving match point in the second set. Capriati then lost in the semifinals of the U.S. Open to Venus Williams. Despite the loss, Capriati accumulated the best Grand Slam record of 2001, and she was the only player to reach at least the semifinals of all four of the Grand Slam tournaments.
Despite playing very little in the fall, Capriati became ranked Number One on October 15. She lost her opening match at the WTA Tour Championships to Maleeva. Capriati would have finished the year ranked number one had she reached the semifinals. Instead, she finished number two (her career high), behind Lindsay Davenport, with a 56 – 14 record.
As a result of Lindsay Davenport's (ranked number one in the world at the time) withdrawal from the Australian Open due to an injury, Capriati was the top seed. She defeated the sixth-seeded Amélie Mauresmo and the fourth-seeded Kim Clijsters en route to her second consecutive final there, where she once again faced Martina Hingis. The match was played in very hot conditions, with the temperature exceeding 35 degrees Celsius. Capriati fought back from 6–4, 4–0 down and saved four championship points to eventually prevail 4–6, 7–6(7), 6–2. This was Capriati's third (and final) Grand Slam title. Her dramatic victory is widely regarded as one of the great comebacks in tennis history. Tennis Magazine selected this match as one of the ten best of the decade of 2000 – 09. Capriati reclaimed the number one ranking as a result of her successfully defending her Australian championship.
In the spring, Capriati reached finals in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Miami, Florida, losing to Serena Williams on both occasions. Capriati prepared for her French Open title defense by participating in events in Charleston, South Carolina, Berlin, and Rome, Italy, losing in the semifinals of all three. As the top seed at the French Open, Capriati reached the semifinals—before losing to the eventual champion Serena Williams in three sets. Capriati surrendered her number one ranking to Venus Williams as a result of this loss. Capriati's streak of six consecutive Grand Slam semifinals was broken at Wimbledon, where she lost to Amélie Mauresmo in three sets in the quarterfinals. She also lost to Mauresmo in the finals of the Canadian Open, and in the quarterfinals of the U.S. after having served for the match.
Capriati won only one match in the three European indoor events she played. She rebounded at the year-ending championships, reaching the semifinals for the first time, losing to Serena Williams (ranked number one in the world). Capriati finished the year ranked number three.
A week after the 2002 WTA Championships, Capriati had eye surgery in order to remove pterygiums (sun spots) from both eyes. Recovery from the surgery hampered Capriati's off-season preparation.
In the opening round of the 2003 Australian Open Capriati lost to unseeded and unheralded Marlene Weingärtner. Capriati was the first Australian Open title-holder to lose in the first round. Capriati said in her press conference that had she not been the defending champion she would not have played the event. She withdrew from the Pan Pacific Open to further recover from her surgery.
Capriati rebounded by reaching at least semifinals of the next five tournaments she played. She lost to Lindsay Davenport in the semifinals of Indian Wells. She then reached the final of the Sony Ericsson Open for the third consecutive year before losing to World No. 1 Serena Williams. Capriati lost in the round of 16 of the French Open to unseeded Nadia Petrova. She reached the quarters of Wimbledon for the sixth time, losing to Serena Williams in three sets, her eighth consecutive loss to her compatriot.
Capriati then reached her second final of 2003 in Stanford, losing to Kim Clijsters in three sets. A pectoral strain forced Capriati to retire from her opening match in San Diego and pull out of Montreal. Capriati won her first title of 2003 in New Haven after Davenport retired in the final trailing 6–2, 4–0. This ended a 28-tournament title drought for Capriati, and was her first tour victory since she won the 2002 Australian Open. Capriati was the title favorite at the US Open after both Williams sisters pulled out with injuries. Seeded 6th, Capriati reached the semifinal, where she faced second seeded Justine Henin. Capriati served for the match twice and was two points away from victory eleven times, but Henin prevailed 4–6, 7–5, 7–6(4), in a three-hour marathon. This match was regarded by Hall-of-Famer John McEnroe as the greatest women's match ever played at the US Open.
Capriati did not play again until the WTA Tour Championships where she lost in the semifinal to World No. 1 Justine Henin
Injuries plagued Capriati's 2004 season. A back injury suffered during the 2003 WTA Tour Championships forced Capriati to withdraw from the 2004 Australian Open and the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. Capriati advanced beyond the quarterfinals just once in her first four events of the year in Doha, losing to Anastasia Myskina in the semifinals. Her back continued to be an issue, forcing her out of Indian Wells and Miami. Her ranking dropped to number 10 as a result of her injuries.
Capriati produced her best results of the year during the European clay-court season. She reached the semis of Berlin, defeating World No. 5 Myskina in the quarters for her first top 5 win of the season, before losing to Mauresmo in the semifinals. At the Italian Open, Capriati defeated top seed Serena Williams in the quarterfinals, her first win over the American since Wimbledon 2001. Capriati moved on to the final, where she lost to Mauresmo in a 3 hour struggle. Seeded 7th at the French Open, Capriati went on to the semifinals, before losing to sixth seeded and eventual champion Myskina in straight sets.
At Wimbledon, Capriati reached the quarters for the fourth straight year, where she lost to Serena Williams 6–1, 6–1, in 45 minutes, the most lopsided result of their 17-match rivalry. A hamstring injury forced her to withdraw from Los Angeles and San Diego, but she reached the quarterfinals of both Montreal and New Haven. Seeded 8th at the US Open, Capriati defeated Williams in a controversial quarterfinal match to reach her fourth US Open semifinal that included a disputed line call that some say ultimately was responsible for having hawk-eye systems instituted at Grand Slam events. The referee from that match has been replaced in the tournament. Capriati then lost to fifth seed Elena Dementieva in the semifinals.
Following the US Open, Capriati lost in the quarterfinals of Philadelphia to No. 11 Vera Zvonareva 6–1, 6–0, her worst loss since 1999 (where she won only one game against Graf in Miami). Capriati failed to qualify for the season-ending championships for the first time since 1999. She finished the year World No. 10.
Ongoing problems with her shoulder and wrist have prevented Capriati from competing on the WTA Tour. She has had several surgical operations on her wrist and shoulder, most recently in 2007.
In 2002, she received an ESPY for Comeback Player of the Year. That year's nominees included Mario Lemieux and Michael Jordan. She was also the 2002 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, in recognition of her success at Roland Garros in 2001 and the successful defence of her Australian Open title in 2002. In 2005, Tennis magazine ranked her 26th in its list of 40 Greatest Players of the TENNIS era.
Capriati was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2012.
In April 2009, it was announced that Capriati would appear on the ABC television reality series "The Superstars". The show, described as a revival of the 1970s series of the same name, premiered on June 23, 2009, in a co-ed format, with Capriati paired with singer and actor David Charvet, best known for his role as a lifeguard on the television show Baywatch. In the first episode of the show, they were one of the lower-performing teams and were sent into a run-off in an obstacle course race against basketball player Lisa Leslie and actor Dan Cortese. Capriati/Charvet won their race and avoided elimination. At the start of the next episode, however, which aired on June 30, 2009, it was suddenly announced that Capriati had re-aggravated a previous injury during the first episode's events, and that as a result she and her partner were eliminated from the competition.
Capriati was born in New York City, New York, the daughter of Denise (Deamicis) and Stefano Capriati. She is of Italian descent.
In 1993 Capriati was charged with shoplifting a ring, which she has described as accidental. She was arrested on 16 May 1994 and charged with misdemeanour marijuana possession. She agreed to enter a drug counselling program.
In 1994, Capriati admitted that she had contemplated suicide due to tennis burnout and issues over her appearance and relationships. In 2010 she required treatment for a drug overdose in a suicide attempt.
- Official WTA profile
- "Jennifer Capriati". britannica.com. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Jennifer Capriati Elected to International Tennis Hall of Fame | International Tennis Hall of Fame". Tennisfame.com. 2012-07-14. Retrieved 2013-05-17.
- "Capriati to compete on reality show". Entertainment Weekly (Entertainment Weekly). Retrieved April 27, 2009.
- "Who's Who of American Women 1999-2000 - Google Books". Books.google.ca. Retrieved 2013-05-17.
- Finn, Robin (11 December 1993). "Shoplifting an Accident, Capriati Says of Charge". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "Capriati prepared to seek counseling". The Milwaukee Journal. 14 June 1994. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "Capriati thought of suicide". The Milwaukee Sentinel. 26 September 1994. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "Capriati recovering after 'accidental overdose'". abc.net.au. 29 June 2010. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
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