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Old Nov 5th, 2003, 11:41 AM   #1
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Capriati grows & speaks up

Capriati grows & speaks up

The Jennifer Capriati who enters the WTA Tour Championship on Wednesday is a mature 27-year-old woman, comfortable in the spotlight and far removed from the confused and unhappy youngster who went into self-imposed exile in the 1990s. Follow Capriati v Ai Sugiyama in the WTA Tour Championships LIVE at 04:30 CET on Eurosport!


"There was a time when I just came back that I couldn't even concentrate on playing because there was a lot going on in my mind, a lack of self-confidence," Capriati told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"Forget about tennis, I was scared to open my mouth. I didn't even feel worthy of saying something and not sounding stupid.

"I was an emotional basket case," said Capriati, who spent more than two years away from tennis after a demoralising first-round defeat in the 1993 U.S. Open and was detained by police for shoplifting and drug possession.

"Now a lot has changed and I can separate a lot of things. And if I can't, I make the decision not to even try to play tennis."

Tournament promoters are counting on Capriati's popularity to sell tickets this week as she and Chanda Rubin are the only Americans in the eight-woman field at Los Angeles' Staples Center.

Southern Californian natives Serena and Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport have pulled out with injuries, leaving Capriati as the big attraction.

She begins the round-robin phase of the event against Japan's Ai Sugiyama.

NEGATIVE PUBLICITY

Three-times Grand Slam winner Capriati still dislikes making public appearances but is always willing to take a stand on issues she believes in.

In 2002, Capriati got into a public spat with the United States Fed Cup coach Billie Jean King about whether private coaches should be allowed at team practices. She stuck to her point of view despite the negative publicity that ensued.

"I trust myself more," Capriati said. "It's also because of the feedback I got. People want to hear what I have to say and respect what I say. But mainly it comes from myself."

While the fifth-ranked Capriati does not start as the favourite this week, she is regarded as one of the few players to have a serious chance of beating defending champion Kim Clijsters or French and U.S. Open champion Justine Henin-Hardenne.

Last year in Los Angeles, Capriati lost a three-set heartbreaker to Serena Williams.

Six weeks ago, Capriati suffered another bad defeat, when she fell to Henin-Hardenne in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open, surrendering big leads in both the second and third sets. After the match, she admitted to choking and called it the worse defeat of her career.

After that match, Capriati said, she went from being angry to feeling drained. Now the former world number one knows she must turn herself around mentally if she is to have a chance of reaching the top again.

"I came as close as you come to winning," she said of the semi-final. "It wasn't my tennis that made me lose, it was a lot of different things going on, high drama, high emotion.

"It was also because the Williamses weren't there and (people were saying) I should win. But there were other good players there. For whatever reason, I didn't (win) and I can't look at it like it was my only chance. That's not very positive."

NUMBER ONE

When Capriati returned to the tour full time in 1999 after battling burnout and the fallout from her arrests, few analysts believed she would ever get into the top five again.

Capriati is delighted to have proved them wrong by winning two Australian Open titles and the French Open, as well as making the world number one spot for several spells in 2001 and 2002.

"Coming back after the layoff, I wasn't really sure what to expect," she said. "Maybe there were times I counted myself out. I'm just happy to be playing and to have the results I've had. If nothing ever happened from here on, I still feel I've had a noteworthy career."

While Capriati's peers such as Monica Seles and Davenport are out of action with injuries and could soon retire, Capriati sees herself playing into her 30s.

She recently read the autobiography of five-times Tour of France winner Lance Armstrong and said she was inspired by how he approached the struggle of getting to the top and staying there.

Capriati has won nearly $7 million in prize money but says she has no plans to relax for the rest of her career.

"Tennis is what I do and is part of who I am," she said. "It doesn't mean I'm going to be nonchalant from here on out. I'm happy with what I've done but it's a challenge to try to win more."
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Old Nov 5th, 2003, 01:28 PM   #2
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wow, thanks for the article. Jenn really has seemed to mature, as always I wish the best of luck to her now and forever. Go Jenn!
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Old Nov 5th, 2003, 01:46 PM   #3
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Thanks for the article!
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Old Nov 5th, 2003, 01:56 PM   #4
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Nice article.
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Old Nov 5th, 2003, 01:57 PM   #5
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This article sums up why I have HUGE respect for this woman!!! Sure I more than admire her tennis, but it is her growth and maturity as a human being that really gets me. To all the naysayers and haters out there.... read this article and you will find a mature, at peace, intelligent woman who is above the BS you spread about her. Cappy ain't retiring, and she is not going away.... she is going to keep improving her already awesome game and make women's tennis a lot of fun for the next few years!!!
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Old Nov 5th, 2003, 02:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcusRock
Hold on a second. Didn't Capriati say before the Open that it didn't matter that the Williams weren't there because whoever won the Open wouldn't be remembered as winning with a weak field or something to that effect? Now one of the reasons she lost was because the Williams weren't there? What's up with that?

Dont try to make shit out of nothing. SHe CLEARLY stated that she was thinking to much about the expectations of the tourny without the Willies there and not about the immediate moment. And what she said at the Pilot Pen about the Willies not being there was that sure it was more an open Grand Slam without 2 of the best players not playing, but that there were still many good players still in the draw.
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Old Nov 5th, 2003, 02:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by CapFan#1
Dont try to make shit out of nothing. SHe CLEARLY stated that she was thinking to much about the expectations of the tourny without the Willies there and not about the immediate moment. And what she said at the Pilot Pen about the Willies not being there was that sure it was more an open Grand Slam without 2 of the best players not playing, but that there were still many good players still in the draw.
Relax dude(tte). I had the quotes confused so I already erased my post.
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Old Nov 5th, 2003, 02:15 PM   #8
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no i think Cappy meant because V & S weren't there (some people including the American media) automatically thought she would win... which probably put more pressure on her.

Anyhoo nice quotes.
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Old Nov 5th, 2003, 02:23 PM   #9
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which probably put more pressure on her.
and she's not all that good under pressure as we saw....
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Old Nov 5th, 2003, 02:26 PM   #10
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and she's not all that good under pressure as we saw....
Ooooh! Dang CapFan#1. Linzi just out and out called your favorite a punk under pressure. A mere paper tiger when the spotlight's on her and then said that she folded faster than Superman on laundry day.

You gonna take that? Dang!
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Old Nov 5th, 2003, 02:30 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by MarcusRock
Ooooh! Dang CapFan#1. Linzi just out and out called your favorite a punk under pressure. A mere paper tiger when the spotlight's on her and then said that she folded faster than Superman on laundry day.

You gonna take that? Dang!

I am not going to turn this thread into a bitch-festival. The article and interview with Jen are truely beautiful and THAT IS WHAT COUNTS.

And yes, Jen gave into the pressure of that situation when she was cleary the better player, but loss any ways..........
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Old Nov 5th, 2003, 02:33 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by CapFan#1
I am not going to turn this thread into a bitch-festival. The article and interview with Jen are truely beautiful and THAT IS WHAT COUNTS.
Spoil sport.
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Old Nov 5th, 2003, 02:36 PM   #13
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Spoil sport.

sorry.....
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Old Nov 5th, 2003, 02:36 PM   #14
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She cant handle the pressure anytime. One time i remember she said she couldnt handle the pressure that it was thought she was the only person who could beat the WS. FFS that really is pathetic. It should be a compliment of your skills.
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Old Nov 5th, 2003, 02:41 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linzi
She cant handle the pressure anytime. One time i remember she said she couldnt handle the pressure that it was thought she was the only person who could beat the WS. FFS that really is pathetic. It should be a compliment of your skills.
Are you gonna take THAT, CapFan#1. Dang!
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"All this year Kim has been have catwalk draws ..." - leslie, on Kim Clijsters' easy draws in 2003
"I wanna see Anna, I bet I could tape that ass" - SerenaSlam, on fan perception of Anna K.
"n I am more of a retard, yes." - gogomaggie
"she has a face of a cereal killer" - Naldo, on Serena Williams
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