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lizchris
Aug 23rd, 2003, 09:34 PM
Capriati's Pleasure, Davenport's Pain and U.S. Open's Worry


Photo by Cynthia Lum By Andre Christopher
08/24/2003

Saturday was a bittersweet day for women’s tennis… at least in the United States.


Jennifer Capriati, once the American tennis princess in waiting, won her first title since the 2002 Australian Open by capturing the Pilot Pen, the last women’s tune-up event before the U.S. Open. But Lindsay Davenport, Capriati’s opponent in the Pilot Pen final, retired from the match, trailing 6-2, 4-0, because of an inflamed nerve in her left foot, which has pestered her all summer.

So the U.S. Open will begin on Monday at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., without the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, who have won the past four U.S. Open women’s singles titles, and with the top-seeded American woman, No. 3 Davenport, gimpy. It is hardly a surprise that before Davenport, the 1998 U.S. Open champion, could do her post-match press conference at the Pilot Pen, U.S. Open and USTA officials were asking her if she would be able to play her first-round match Monday.

”I got a call when I called the doctor at the U.S. Open,” said Davenport, who immediately arranged to receive treatment by the U.S. Open tournament doctor after the Pilot Pen final. “They’re a little nervous if I was going to play or not. …I’m sure they would be disappointed if I wasn’t able to play, on top of everyone else.”

In addition to Davenport and the Williamses, U.S. Open No. 5 seed Amelie Mauresmo also retired from her semifinal match against Capriati at the Pilot Pen in New Haven, Conn., Friday night. But at least that was merely an upset stomach.

”The last two matches, I’ve had retirements; people are going to think what did I do,” Capriati quipped on court, on the verge of making an awkward joke to the crowd as she accepted the Pilot Pen trophy. “Did I put something in the water?”

Capriati relished being in the winner’s spotlight, a spot she had not occupied in 19 months, though she had reached five finals in the interim. With Michelob Ultra as the event’s presenting sponsor, Capriati, bolstered her party girl reputation by orchestrating a swig of beer during the trophy presentation. “I’ve been wanting to do this all week,” she said as she popped open the can. The crowd, naturally, loved it.

But lest anyone forget, the only reason Capriati played the Pilot Pen, which also serves as the USTA Women’s Hard Court Championship, is a right pectoral strain kept her out of action the two weeks before, forcing her to miss the JPMorgan Chase Open in Los Angeles and the Rogers AT&T Cup in Toronto.

”If I had been able to play the other tournaments,” Capriati said, “I probably would have passed on playing this. But it worked out perfect. I really had no practice at all. You can’t go into the Open without playing a match for three weeks. It’s too tough. I’m just really happy that I was able to come and play injury-free – not only injury free, but also to play well and win.”

Capriati was clearly on top of her game during the 47 minutes she and Davenport played. With Davenport serving in the first set at 2-5, 15-love, Capriati hit a running – almost lunging – forehand that zoomed down the line for a clean winner. Even if she were healthy and agile, Davenport would not have had any play on the ball.

But by then, Davenport said, she knew she “was in trouble.” After the third game of the second set, she called for the trainer and took an injury timeout. In what turned out to be the match’s final game, she could hardly move. Her foot so affected her serve, she double faulted twice.

Davenport was extremely apologetic to the crowd for having to retire from the match. “I’m very, very sorry,” she said, “and I hope you guys still had a great week.” The crowd, at 7,147 the smallest for a New Haven final since 1998, the event’s first year at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale, accepted Davenport’s apology with a standing ovation that brought the four-time runner-up to tears. (Davenport won this tournament in 1997 when it was played in Atlanta.)

Said Capriati, “You don’t want to win like that, obviously. Lindsay was very gracious to me after (the match) and said that I still played great.”

There is the chance that Capriati and Davenport could have a rematch of Saturday’s final in two weeks at the U.S. Open. They are in opposite halves of the draw and have reasonable paths at least to the quarterfinals. “I’d be pretty happy if I was in the final,” Capriati said. “I don’t care who I would play. I would just be happy I was there.” The key, of course – particularly for Davenport – will be staying healthy. To her advantage, she will never have to play two consecutive days, assuming normal scheduling and no rain.

”That’s going to be my saving point,” Davenport said, “That’s what I’m banking on.”

Davenport and the USTA

joaco
Aug 23rd, 2003, 09:44 PM
Ok. this is good news. Too bad I could not see the standing ovation since ESPN decided to show another program immediately after the match ended. What was it like? Was Lindsay crying hard? Or did she just swepped (sp) out her tears?

Joaco

Hendouble
Aug 23rd, 2003, 09:50 PM
Those highlighted passages only show what a one-track mind you have. Clever how you managed to emphasise the small crowd at the final, presumably because of Venus' absence, to try and hide the next sentence talking about the standing ovation for Davenport - which showed how much the crowd did appreciate the players, even if one of them wasn't named Williams.

lizchris
Aug 23rd, 2003, 10:42 PM
Those highlighted passages only show what a one-track mind you have. Clever how you managed to emphasise the small crowd at the final, presumably because of Venus' absence, to try and hide the next sentence talking about the standing ovation for Davenport - which showed how much the crowd did appreciate the players, even if one of them wasn't named Williams.

I don't apologize for being a Williams fan. The reason whyh it was highlighted was because of people like you who say that the Williams sisters are bad for tennis and unpopular. And don't say that you are not a Williams sister critic because I have seen some of the things you have written about them.

At least I don't spend my energy bashing the other players.

villa
Aug 23rd, 2003, 11:17 PM
I don't apologize for being a Williams fan. The reason whyh it was highlighted was because of people like you who say that the Williams sisters are bad for tennis and unpopular. And don't say that you are not a Williams sister critic because I have seen some of the things you have written about them.

At least I don't spend my energy bashing the other players.


Well said lizchris :kiss: i was wondering how people like hendouble would respond to that fact and he/she aint surpirsed me with their bitter response....
The williams sister draw a large attendace wherever they play and even if people don't support them they would rather see them play than any other player on tour compete and those of you who think that usopen will be just as popular without them need to get off those prozac tablets quick!! :p

lizchris
Aug 24th, 2003, 12:51 AM
Well said lizchris :kiss: i was wondering how people like hendouble would respond to that fact and he/she aint surpirsed me with their bitter response....
The williams sister draw a large attendace wherever they play and even if people don't support them they would rather see them play than any other player on tour compete and those of you who think that usopen will be just as popular without them need to get off those prozac tablets quick!! :p

Thank you villa.

The fact that the US summer hardcourt season for the women has been dissapointing at least an a bust at best is mostly because of the absence of the Williams sisters. The only tournament that had any decent attendance was the Acura Classic and that was only durin the last few days of the tournament..

yukon145
Aug 24th, 2003, 01:30 AM
Maybe the reason the crowd was so small because the tourment pushed the start time up an hour at the last minute, you can't assume and just say that because there are no Williams there are small crowds. You have to believe that a lot of people didn't learn of the time change until it was too late.

lizchris
Aug 24th, 2003, 01:36 AM
Maybe the reason the crowd was so small because the tourment pushed the start time up an hour at the last minute, you can't assume and just say that because there are no Williams there are small crowds. You have to believe that a lot of people didn't learn of the time change until it was too late.

That's not the case. The tournament let people know at least 48 hours in advance that the start time was going to be moved up.

Jericho
Aug 24th, 2003, 01:37 AM
Maybe the reason the crowd was so small because the tourment pushed the start time up an hour at the last minute, you can't assume and just say that because there are no Williams there are small crowds. You have to believe that a lot of people didn't learn of the time change until it was too late.

excuses, excuses...i dont think the tournament officials would've changed the schedule if they thought it would jeopardise crowd attendance...besides dont you think its a little fishy that it was the least since 98, and the year after that was when Venus came and won the next 4 ;)

Rollo
Aug 24th, 2003, 11:00 AM
Posted by villa
The williams sisters draw a large attendace wherever they play

Clearly you wern't watching the tour championships last year in the sister's backyard, but then who was? Empty seats everywhere.

Of course Venus' absence hurt. She's become an institution at New Haven and is rightly popular. It's always a combination of factors though. This year not only Venus was out but so was Hingis, who entered last year. A Monica Seles entry could have sold more tickets also. Credit the organizers here for keeping the losses at a minimum.

villa
Aug 24th, 2003, 11:44 AM
Posted by villa


Clearly you wern't watching the tour championships last year in the sister's backyard, but then who was? Empty seats everywhere.

Of course Venus' absence hurt. She's become an institution at New Haven and is rightly popular. It's always a combination of factors though. This year not only Venus was out but so was Hingis, who entered last year. A Monica Seles entry could have sold more tickets also. Credit the organizers here for keeping the losses at a minimum.

Rollo that was one messed up tournament and imagine if nither williams were playing that torunament- one man and his dog would have been the attendance :lol:

*JR*
Aug 24th, 2003, 12:06 PM
I'm not getting into yet another Williams related row in this thread. I post to say 2 things: I won't hesitate to criticize a tournament director (had Charlie P. sternly lectured that IW crowd for even 60 seconds in '01, the W/S boycott could have been averted, for example). But: 3 cheers for Anne Worcester, who did a magnificent job with the Pilot Pen, as players were stuck @ airports enroute due to the blackout, the injuries came fast and furious the week B4, her freedom to offer MD WC's to non-Americans was limited by the USTA, etc., etc. And re. the posted topic, you know everyone is gonna make Linzi run as much as possible; if anyone can junkball her the way Emilie Loit did vs. Serena @ the AO: Hasta la Vista, Linzi.