A winner is me.
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: The Victory Trail.
Capriati Questionable for Australia
THE Australian Open's women's event looks like being won by the last woman standing, with dual Melbourne Park champion Jennifer Capriati now in doubt with a shoulder injury.
Capriati's right shoulder has not improved since soreness forced her to drop out of an exhibition charity match in Florida on December 17 against Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova. The powerful American, ranked 10th in the world, will make a decision by Saturday on whether to take up her place in the Medibank Private International, starting in Sydney on Sunday.
Open title contenders Serena Williams and Amelie Mauresmo both have abdominal strains which forced them to withdraw from matches in a Hong Kong exhibition which started yesterday and have no further appearances booked before the Australian Open starts on Monday week.
The Sydney event has a strong women's entry with four women ranked higher than Capriati engaged at Homebush Bay - world No.1 Lindsay Davenport, French Open champion Anatasia Myksina, Australian Open winner Justine Henin-Hardenne and world No.6 Elena Dementieva, runner-up at the French and US Opens.
Even if the elite women play the Australian Open, its two-week format will be a punishing examination for many of them, including Henin-Hardenne, who will be scrutinised closely in Sydney on her return from a four-month tournament absence while she recovered from a virus.
Kim Clijsters, who fell 20 ranking places during 2004 due to wrist surgery, decided on Tuesday not to ask for a wildcard for the Australian Open and will fall out of the top 30 because she will relinquish runner-up ranking points.
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova said the injuries befalling the top women in recent months was "beyond belief".
Davenport and No.2 Mauresmo are the only players to have been ranked in the top five at the end of both 2003 and 2004, with Henin-Hardenne falling from No.1 to No.7, Clijsters from No.2 to No.22 and Serena Williams from third to seventh.
Of the established queens of the game overthrown last year by Russians Myskina, Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova in places No.3 to No.5, Capriati fell from sixth to 10th and Venus Williams edged back from No.11 to her current ranking of ninth.
"We have seen the top 10 decimated. It's a combination of many factors, like some of them playing too much tennis at an early age, not having a long enough off-season and not taking off enough time between tournaments," Navratilova said.
Capriati, popular in Australia for her 2001-02 Australian Open double and her well-documented growing pains as a precocious elite athlete, had a poor finish to the year after the intense disappointment of missing out on her best chance to win a US Open last September.
After beating Serena Williams in the quarters in New York, Capriati lost a deciding-set tiebreak against Dementieva in the semi-finals, the third time she had been tipped out of her national championship.
Lindsay Davenport|Elena Bovina|Marissa Irvin|Tatiana Golovin|Mary Pierce|Sesil Karatantcheva|Cara Black|Clarisa Fernandez