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Thanks to Mase:hearts: for posting this in GM. Great article. I hope she sticks with Gully! And I think that the loss yesterday had more to do with Jen finally seperating herself from her parents..... sometimes you gotta make mistakes on your own to grow stronger. Makes me hopefull for her future.......


It Was Jennifer Capriati's Most Excellent Adventure


By HARVEY ARATON

Published: July 1, 2004

imbledon, England

THERE were no answers in the family box yesterday for Jennifer Capriati. Not from a longtime friend named Molly, or her trainer, Scott Humphries, or her coach-for-the-moment, Tom Gullikson.

Serena Williams was on a grass-court roll, in the power-tennis zone, where Capriati was trapped as helpless prey.

A couple of times along the way to a 6-1, 6-1 thrashing in the Wimbledon quarterfinals, out of old habit, Capriati searched the corner of the stands for familiar, friendly eyes. "A little bit, we tried to get her fired up, hitting through the ball," Gullikson said.

By the middle of the second set, with time running out on the 45-minute slaughter, Capriati knew it didn't much matter anymore. She was out on Center Court, dealing with defeat, and life, all on her own.

It took a good while for her to reach this apparent and necessary demarcation, 14 years after she made her Tour debut at age 13 years 11 months. The story of Capriati's rise and fall and rise is well documented, world known. But however she fared, wherever she went, her parents, especially her coaching father, have been in the picture, a little too close.

Until here, at Wimbledon, where Capriati finally declared her nuclear independence and uninvited the folks and played for herself. "I'm 28 years old, it's not that unusual to kind of be on my own, and I think I can handle it," she said.

Her father, Stefano, accompanied her to the French Open and whooped it up when she beat the same Serena, as if his daughter was still a pigtailed 13. Most youngsters cringe at the sight of their parents making spectacles of themselves within a one-mile radius. Better late than never.

Capriati lost in the semifinals in Paris to Anastasia Myskina and severed a brief coaching arrangement with Heinz Gunthardt, a former player from Switzerland. One week later, she left a voice-mail message for Gullikson, who helped coach her when she was 14.

"Are you coaching anyone at Wimbledon?" Capriati said when Gullikson called.

"No," he said.

"Would you like to coach somebody?"

Thus was their partnership re-formed, at least temporarily. These relationships usually begin as live-in arrangements before marriage. Brad Gilbert, who was Andre Agassi's man, is now in Andy Roddick's corner. Paul Annacone, formerly Pete Sampras's muse, sprinkled stardust here on Tim Henman, but Henman was eliminated just the same in straight sets yesterday by the unseeded 20-year-old Mario Ancic of Croatia.

Roger Federer, whose streak of 105 held service games at Wimbledon was broken yesterday evening in his four-set victory over Lleyton Hewitt, doesn't even have a coach at the moment, and he's No. 1. While acknowledging Federer as a tennis genius, Gullikson gave a ringing endorsement to Peter Lundgren, Federer's ex, because coaches have to eat, too.

"Peter did a phenomenal job with Roger," Gullikson said. He conceded that watching Federer operate on his own is evidence of that, and he added, "You don't want to make them dependent on you, looking up at you for signals on every point."

At times, it seemed that way with the Capriatis, the ties unyielding even long after Jennifer's rebellious, teenage, tennis runaway phase, when she was poster girl for the force-fed young athlete.

Perhaps it was never that simple. Steffi Graf also started early and she won 22 Grand Slam events. These days, young superstars like Freddy Adu in soccer and Michelle Wie in golf are hailed as precocious treasures. Was the world too judgmental of the Capriatis?

With all that went on, who couldn't be happy for them when Jennifer broke through, won the first of her three Grand Slam events, in Melbourne, Australia, three years ago? But time marches on, and firing a father who means well but doesn't know when to let his daughter grow up is not so easy to do.

Nor does Capriati give the impression of full-blown maturity, often coming across as adolescently thin-skinned. Her sentences reverberate with "I mean" and "you know." It's difficult to fathom that she is the same age as Lindsay Davenport, who left mom and dad behind and who appeared adult-like at 18. Now Davenport, who plays Maria Sharapova today in the semifinals, is married and contemplating retirement, while Capriati says she views 30 as "just a number" along a road she may finally be driving solo.

"The thing that impresses me about her is that she's got that sparkle back in her eye," Gullikson said after the Williams demolition, allowing Capriati her time of "temporary insanity, without a well-meaning coach telling you what you did wrong."

He knew that she knew it was Williams, playing with what Capriati called a vendetta, after successive losses to Capriati on clay.

"Jenny's been on her front foot for four matches," Gullikson said. "Today, she was on her back foot."

Capriati nonetheless stood tall, finally on her own, after 14 years. She may have lost Wimbledon and still won the war.
 

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Great article. Thanks!!!! Good luck Jen in the coming tournaments!!!
 

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If Stefano's and Denise's presence was useful for not making Jen looking now like Davenport (and losing and retiring like she probably will do), thanks very much to them.
In my opinion, is the usual morbous attention of press to private life of people, adding also a disappointment for families that still mantain a relative union after too many years. Why has Jen to broke with her parents? It isn't the point in my opinion. But, I think, people that have round them disrupted families would like that all the other families be disrupted too.
Jen, do what you like!!!
And, at the end, build your own family in a beautiful way!!!!
 

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That was a great article, but I also think Jen should stick with what she needs to do. If she needs her family in her corner there is nothing wrong with that!! They are her support that must have been hard for her losing that bad to Serena!!!1
 

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No prob Pj!! :kiss:
 

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Hasn`t LazyMasi already posted this article? :shrug:
 

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Aweseome article, HOWEVER unfair comparison between Lindsay and Jen, their careers are extremely different, Jen's natural talent manifested from much younger age aswell, where was Linds when Jen was shocking the world in 1990..Jen not thinking of retirement yet cos she knows she could have done more in what should have been her prime years 1993-2000 when she was all but lost to the tennis world, this is 7 YEARS where most girls peak, if Jen has donwe so much between 1990-93 and 2001-2004 imagine what she could have done in those years!, Linds has on the other hand acheived enough for herself?? And as far as the immaturity, they are simply diffferent personalities..to be honest Jen is much less boring, anyway im sure allo you fellow denners know all this, lol.
 
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