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View Full Version : Would Capriati's career have been different had she won that 91 U.S Open semifinal


justineheninfan
Oct 17th, 2010, 05:25 AM
Capriati's career seemed to be building up wonderfully up until the 1991 U.S Open. She was setting all kinds of youngest ever records as a 13 year old junior, as a 14 year old pro, and then as a 15 year old pro. Her results, ranking, game, and success vs other top players was gradually progressing. The 91 U.S Open was where I think she really felt ready to win her first slam. At still only 15 she would have been the youngest ever to do so, perhaps forever had he achieved it. However she lost that amazing semifinal to Monica Seles after serving for it twice and being up a mini break early in the tiebreak. Whether due to this loss or not (that question being what this thread is about) she seemed to stagnant after that. She really did not show anymore improvement in her game after that 91 U.S Open until her temporary retirement from tennis late in 1993. Her ranking and results plateaued and even slightly regressed. Her ascending success vs the top 5 dropped off, she posted 1 win over Graf and Seles in 92 but began to be dominated again by both Sanchez Vicario and Sabatini whom she had made inroads on in 91. Of course she eventually retired and seemingly destined to never win a slam or perhaps even be a real contender ever again had her amazing career making stretch in 2001 and early 2002 when she won 3 slams in 13 months, and despite ending the year #2 to Davenport and being #2 in many fans, fellow players, and experts minds to Venus for the year, swept Player of the Year and even Athlete of the Year honor for the Year 2001.
She remained a top contender for a few years before another couple gut wrenching U.S Open semifinal classic defeats and a bad shoulder ended her career.

How different would her career have been had she won that 1991 U.S Open, or atleast won that classic semifinal with Seles (which it seems most believe, rightly or wrongly, would have likely carried onwards to winning the title over Navratilova that year). Would it have been any different other than the U.S Open itself and how it added to her overall career, with virtually the same path she took anyway. Or would it have totally changed her career from that point forward to how it played out.

Sam L
Oct 17th, 2010, 08:50 AM
Charlotte Dod won Wimbledon at 15 too so Capriati still might not have had that record had she won the title. I'm too lazy to look up right now.

Anyway, it's a stretch. Because even if she won that match against Seles, she would've faced Navratilova in the final whom she had just beaten in the Wimbledon semifinal if I remember correctly. Plus, Navratilova stretched Seles to a tiebreak in that first set in the final.

If it was Capriati v Navratilova it still wouldn't have been a walkover for her.

If she won the whole thing, do I think her career might be different? Probably not. She was already a top player. She won 92 Olympic gold medal beating Graf. Her issues didn't have anything to do with her lack of success on court.

If anything had she won it, she might've thought she's achieved all she can in tennis and never came back.

justineheninfan
Oct 17th, 2010, 04:41 PM
I am pretty sure she would have beaten Navratilova in the final. She beat Navratilova in straight sets on GRASS only 2 months earlier so cant see her losing to her on American hard courts. Navratilova also played a poor final (which she even admited afterwords) which was overall a beatdown inspite of there being a 1st set tiebreaker. Your words she stretched Seles to a tiebreak as if it were something amazing is another example of how much many people tend now to inflate pre stabbing Seles and her level of dominance but that is another topic altogether. The only way Capriati would have lost the final to Navratilova is if Capriati choked or Navratilova got charged up for revenge and played a whole lot better than she actually did vs Seles.

trivfun
Oct 18th, 2010, 11:53 PM
Capriati was mentally stronger than Chris Evert but physically I saw of her being tired in spirts. I felt that she may have been partying too much which affected her serve. One thing about Martina in slam finals, once she get on you early, it is pretty much over. I thought Capriati's best match was against Steffi Graf in the Gold Medal Game in 1992. She seemed to be in great shape though her serve was slow but she put it in tough spots where Graf couldn't use her "Runaround Sue" forehand off the serve. She just fought her off when Steffi threw the kitchen sink at her with the forehand and those brutal slice cuts as well as the serve. Not only that, she beat hometown girl Arantxa Sanchez in the semi's. How many folks can do that beating Arantxa and Graf in the same tournament. Yet, she lost in the first round 1993 to Lela Meshki (say what?)I knew something was up.

I felt the same when she lost to Amelie, Justine, and Elena in the 2000's. I felt like she was partying again.
I will say this again: Jen was mentally tougher than Graf, William sisters, Justine, Kim and especially Amelie Mauresmo. Monica Seles, no way she could have beaten her. She couldn't read her returns and was too strong physically as well as mentally. That match against Graf should put Jennifer in a great frame but it made it worse. The 1991 was a great learning match and she improved in 1992, she actually beat Seles and went Quarters in all slams except the 1993 U.S. Open when she lost to Patricia HY (say what?). I knew she was probably tired from the Olympics but still to Patti Hy. 1993 should have been her coming out year and she earned it but around late 1992 and 1993 something went wrong. Drugs. She lost to Graf in Quarters three times at Australian, French, and Wimbledon in two sets befor the Meshki debacle.

Before winning the 1992 Gold, she was fed up with tennis.

thrust
Oct 23rd, 2010, 07:19 PM
Capriati was mentally stronger than Chris Evert but physically I saw of her being tired in spirts. I felt that she may have been partying too much which affected her serve. One thing about Martina in slam finals, once she get on you early, it is pretty much over. I thought Capriati's best match was against Steffi Graf in the Gold Medal Game in 1992. She seemed to be in great shape though her serve was slow but she put it in tough spots where Graf couldn't use her "Runaround Sue" forehand off the serve. She just fought her off when Steffi threw the kitchen sink at her with the forehand and those brutal slice cuts as well as the serve. Not only that, she beat hometown girl Arantxa Sanchez in the semi's. How many folks can do that beating Arantxa and Graf in the same tournament. Yet, she lost in the first round 1993 to Lela Meshki (say what?)I knew something was up.

I felt the same when she lost to Amelie, Justine, and Elena in the 2000's. I felt like she was partying again.
I will say this again: Jen was mentally tougher than Graf, William sisters, Justine, Kim and especially Amelie Mauresmo. Monica Seles, no way she could have beaten her. She couldn't read her returns and was too strong physically as well as mentally. That match against Graf should put Jennifer in a great frame but it made it worse. The 1991 was a great learning match and she improved in 1992, she actually beat Seles and went Quarters in all slams except the 1993 U.S. Open when she lost to Patricia HY (say what?). I knew she was probably tired from the Olympics but still to Patti Hy. 1993 should have been her coming out year and she earned it but around late 1992 and 1993 something went wrong. Drugs. She lost to Graf in Quarters three times at Australian, French, and Wimbledon in two sets befor the Meshki debacle.

Before winning the 1992 Gold, she was fed up with tennis.

NOONE was ever mentally tougher than C Evert! Jennifer's personal life, and mental problems caused her decline and departure for a few years. Had she not had these problems, she could have had a much better career.

justineheninfan
Oct 23rd, 2010, 08:23 PM
Capriati was mentally strong but not the strongest. She certainly wasnt as mentally strong as Seles or Henin as her two famous U.S Open semifinal losses both which she could have/should have won prove.

DennisFitz
Oct 24th, 2010, 01:37 AM
Capriati was mentally stronger than Chris Evert but physically I saw of her being tired in spirts.
I will say this again: Jen was mentally tougher than Graf, William sisters, Justine, Kim

Hmmm.....that deserves a triple eyebrow raising smilie, if there is one. :help:

Nice that folks had high opinions (expectations?) for Capriati. But mental strength was not Capriati's forte early in her career. Jennifer did very well to come back in 2001 and 2002, and win 3 majors, and that showed her resilience and mental fortitude. But more often than not she lost big matches, especially when there was pressure and expectations for her to win.

justineheninfan
Oct 24th, 2010, 03:33 AM
In the end she did win only 14 tournaments so I personally think she did well to win 3 slams given that stat. However would she have become a greater player who followed a better path had she gotten a grand slam under her belt sooner and had that pressure off earlier? Who knows.

trivfun
Oct 24th, 2010, 03:50 AM
NOONE was ever mentally tougher than C Evert! Jennifer's personal life, and mental problems caused her decline and departure for a few years. Had she not had these problems, she could have had a much better career.

I thought Chris had more physical endurance than mental. She was known for her mental game but I thought her toughness in clay was due to her physicality. She had the same depth on her shots from the first point till the last. Her lack of mental attitude in her serve is why I say that. She lost many of her matches that way paricularly close ones to Martina. Martina like to be ahead but when it came close, she had a tendency for errors on her forehand except at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon to Chris during the 80's.

Jennifer was tougher mentally but I thought she was soft physically despite her gifts. Monica Seles exposed that with her hard hitting from the first point to the last. When Monica came back from the stabbing, she was tougher mentally but soft physically.

To come back that many years being away from the game and beat Clijsters and Hingis. Very amazing but Chris didn't have to face Russians and Eastern block players, Belgian waffles, Williams sisters, and Mauresmo's on a daily basis either. Jennifer wasn't committed to fitness.

Lucemferre
Oct 26th, 2010, 12:41 AM
Her career wouldhave been different if she just kept playing tennis without doing all that shit. With a dedicated capriati in the game it would have been harder for some players to emerge.Hingis definitely would have been affected.I doubt she would have won so much so early.

justineheninfan
Oct 26th, 2010, 03:48 AM
It would have been interesting to see a stronger Capriati play Hingis at her peak in the late 90s. By the time Capriati was finally at her all time best in 2001 and 2002 Hingis wasnt the same player as before, and a basketcase mentally.

It is also interesting to wonder when her time might have come. At the time she left the game in late 93 Seles was stabbed, Navratilova was closing in on retirement, and Sabatini and Fernadez were dropping off as factors. She didnt match up well with Graf however so would pretty much always need to avoid her. 94 was the year where Grafs surprisingly won only 1 slam and people like Sanchez Vicario, Martinez, and Pierce had great success in big events. Capriati had a losing head to head with Sanchez, but a winning one with Martinez, and always owned Pierce. Maybe that would have been her year to make a big move had she just stuck it out and been a bit more patient.