1998:Never say die
Capriati Is Back, You Know
The Washington Post; ; Jun 25, 1998; Jennifer Frey;
Jennifer Capriati still uses the phrase "you know" in almost every other sentence, and she still considers her personal level of motivation (or lack thereof) to be the biggest key to her game. But when Capriati walked onto Court 18 for her first-round match this afternoon -- with little girl barrettes holding her bangs back -- she looked little like the awkward teenager who was seeded No. 12 when she made her debut here in 1990 at age 14.
Now 22 years old and making yet another comeback attempt, Capriati squandered four match points before beating Nicole Pratt, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, then laughed when she was asked, later, how she had changed since her Wimbledon debut.
"We could be here all day for that, you know," Capriati said, rolling her eyes at the thought. "That could take a year."
Capriati played here for the first time in five years, and for the first time since injuries and off-court woes turned her from America's greatest teenage tennis sensation into a cautionary tale that sparked new guidelines for young players on the Women's Tennis Association tour.
Arrested for shoplifting in the winter of 1993 and for drug possession in May of 1994, followed by a trip to rehab, Capriati shrugged today when asked if she had any regrets about the past. And in a news conference littered with 49 uses of the words "you know," she admitted that her own lack of motivation was responsible for her long absence from the game's top ranks. She also expressed hope that those days are past.
"I believe that, you know, I can go all the way," Capriati said. "I mean, you know, having it all, I guess, you know, winning it or, you know, being at the top of what I can do. Maybe that's not number one. Maybe that's just number five, you know, but that's fine. You know, that's whatever my best is."