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Premium Member
2,310 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I found out who "Darren" was from Jen's speech. He is a cancer patient she met three years ago at the AO and has kept in touch with. I remember the story of Jennifer's mom, Denise, meeting some patients from a cancer treatment center at the 2000 AO and getting them VIP seats to Jen's match. Jennifer also visited their facility that year. Apparently, she has kept in contact with them and had her friend, Darren, at the finals. Here is a picture of them:

That says more about her character than an emotional outburst in the heat of the moment during a game. I am proud to be her fan.

17,358 Posts
Jennifer's big heart is just as big a reason for her grand slam wins as her great power and outstanding speed. I think everyone realizes that now.

Team WTAworld, Senior Member
10,772 Posts
When people moan about Jen, they forget about all the great stuff she does on and off the court.

I remember hearing about this story a while back, and it's great to see that she kept in touch, like Tratree - I'm proud of Jen :)

4,742 Posts
Jen is a great girl with the attitude of a lion (in a good way) :)

BTW I think that outburst just showed how much Jen wanted to win. She's a competitive girl and so is Martina. CONGRATS JEN! :)

230 Posts
Here is an article about Darren Bartholmuesz

Win honours cancer battle

AUSTRALIAN Open champion Jennifer Capriati has dedicated her win to a 26-year-old Melbourne man who is dying of cancer.

Darren Bartholomuesz, who has been given only months to live, sent Capriati a heart-wrenching video message before the final.
Yesterday, Capriati, who fought off Martina Hingis in searing heat to win her second consecutive Australian crown, said the win was for people such as Darren.

Capriati and Mr Bartholomuesz met three years ago when she visited cancer support organisation Canteen in Melbourne.

They stayed in contact and after almost every match this year the tennis star and the cancer patient met to offer each other words of encouragement for the battles ahead.

Capriati's mother, Denise, paid tribute to Mr Bartholomuesz's fighting spirit and said it had helped her daughter to the 4-6 7-6 6-2 triumph.

"He comes to every match with morphine," she said.

"He's in so much pain except for when he is watching Jennifer.

"It gives him a lot of strength and, on the other hand, he gives us strength and courage, and puts all this in perspective.

"He is fighting for his life, she is fighting for a tennis match. I don't know whether you can compare the two.

"He made a video in the hospital for Jennifer to see before she went on court. He said: 'I love you Jen, you are the best'. He was blowing her kisses.

"Today she just talked to him. He's got oxygen. She said to him: 'Save some for me, I may need it'.

"Darren was here every match last year, but I didn't hear from him for three months this year and I thought, 'Oh, my God, maybe he has passed away'.

"When I got here I called another girl and she said: 'No, he's alive, but he is sick'.

"So I called his home, and the rest is history.

"He has been here for every match. He has just loved it, and he is an inspiration for everyone, especially to Jennifer."

As Capriati showered after her win yesterday, Mr Bartholomuesz waited outside the changerooms to see his hero. "I'm hoping she will be here, just to congratulate her," he said.

He said Capriati's victory would encourage him to keep fighting.

"She is an inspiration to me. I will go home tonight and really rethink what I'm going to do and how I'm going to fight to stay alive," he said.

"I haven't seen the doctors for four months.

"I've got to use her strength to live because I'm going through a real struggle myself. I've got cancer.

"It was hard for me to come out today, but I wanted to do it. I had to see Jen. I had to see her win."

Capriati revealed her friendship with Mr Bartholomuesz after beating Hingis in the 37-degree heat.

She told a sold-out Rod Laver Arena the conditions were tough, but nothing compared to what some people go through.

As she held the champions cup aloft, she looked into the grandstand and said: "Darren, thanks for coming."

AS many as 15 spectators were treated for heat exhaustion yesterday.

Capriati and Hingis were also forced to seek shade between points.

At one stage, Capriati found refuge in a linesman's chair as the temperature on centre court reached 47C.

Capriati later said the conditions were the toughest she had ever played in.

"It was just really hard to breathe," she said.

"The air was just so thick and just so hot."

The heat resulted in a 10-minute break between the second and third sets, with Capriati and Hingis seeking shade in the changerooms.

In her post-match interview, Hingis said she had goose bumps from dehydration during the match.

She admitted that during the break she had not wanted to go back into the heat.

"I was like, 'No way, I've got to go out there again'," she said.

"I wish I could just stop it at that point."

28,582 Posts
Thanks Tatree for creating this thread :)

And to Darutt for providing that article, that was very informative.

Wow - what can I say - thats extremely heart warming and heart breaking at the same time.

I wish we could have more threads like this, with similar stories about what players do to make a difference and give back.

This says more about Jennifer Capriati's character than any little on court outburst. Thanks to her, for not only bein an inspiration, but showing us how to keep it all in perspective too.

Premium Member
2,310 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Here's a few more stories:

A true fighter inspires a legendary fight-back

Sunday 27 January 2002

Inspirational friends: Jennifer Capriati and Darren Bartholomeusz, whom she thanked in her victory speech at the Australian Open yesterday.

An unassuming 26-year-old was the inspiration behind Jennifer Capriati's sensational comeback victory in yesterday's women's final.

Darren Bartholomeusz, from the outer north-western suburb of Hillside, near Sydenham, found himself the centre of attention when Capriati singled him out for special thanks during her victory speech.

"I was struggling on the court today but it's no comparison to a lot of the friends who I have who are struggling right now, and especially one in particular right now, I'd like to say, Darren, thanks for coming and I love you," she said.

Capriati, who has formed a special bond with the CanTeen organisation - which helps young suffers of cancer - said later that Darren was in her thoughts while she sweltered on centre court. She realised her trials were nothing compared to his.

Darren has supported Capriati all week, attending all of her matches, and when it looked unlikely he would be able to attend yesterday's final, he made the defending champion a video.

The simple message to Capriati was that she was a legend or as he put it, "a ledge".

Darren suffers from bone cancer and has been told by his doctors the cancer is too far advanced for medical help, so he simply refuses treatment and chooses to fight the disease in his own way. Because Capriati, the world's No.1 tennis player, believes in him, he has found the strength to fight.

The pair became friends when Darren was offered tickets by Capriati's mother Denise to attend the Australian Open in 2000. Although a sports fan, Darren admits he never really followed tennis until he met Jennifer. He was stunned by his friend's public show of affection.

Because his hearing is severely affected by the cancer, Darren's family and friends told him of Capriati's speech as the crowd cheered. "My friend, he just put my hand in the air and he was cheering, I can't believe it," he said. "For her to say such words, nobody has ever said such words."

He said Capriati's strength and belief in him inspired him. Although he needed an oxygen tank, Darren was determined to watch his friend win her second Australian Open and never doubted she would fight back for the victory.

"I had to come out today, I had to see Jen and I had to see her win," he said. "I was confident, she is a fighter and I knew she would come back. When she won that second set, I knew she would win the third."

Another one from 2000:

Serving up goodwill
Tuesday 25 January 2000

Jennifer Capriati was reading the paper last week, an edition that includeda publicity shot of herself splashing happily in a fountain the day beforethe start of the Australian Open, when another item caught her eye. It involveda sports-loving young cancer sufferer, bald from the treatment of her inoperablespinal tumor, playing on a swing.
Soon after, a phone callwas made from one of the city?s five-star hotels to the headquarters of teenagecancer support group CanTeen, located opposite Melbourne?s Royal Children?sHospital. On the line was Denise Capriati, asking at her daughter Jennifer?sbehest if a group of young people would fancy a day at the tennis and ifso, which afternoon would suit them?
How often do you see convenientphotos of image-troubled sports stars visiting hospital wards, or graspingthe next picture opportunity with the ill or underprivileged? Far more oftenthan a player or her family taking the initiative, making private arrangementsand expecting nothing in return, according to staff on the WTA Tour.
Yesterday, four cancer-sufferersand CanTeen?s Victorian coordinator Ruth Anderson were collected in a courtesycar by Denise Capriati, issued with player guest passes and escorted to MelbournePark. They wore Open hats and had a drink on the sponsors, taking up theirseats in Rod Laver Arena for Nicolas Kiefer?s fourth-round win over WayneFerreira.
While Jennifer Capriati preparedfor her afternoon doubles match with Australia?s Jelena Dokic, her guestswere taken into the player lounge for a dreamed-of meeting with Anna Kournikova."It was a big thrill,?? said Darren Bartholomeusz, a 24-year-old amputee."I was just upset that I didn?t have my camera out.??
Later they cheered for Capriatiand Dokic out on court three in their doubles match against Els Callens andDominique Van Roost. They sat in on Serena Williams? news conference in MelbournePark?s media amphitheatre, and then spent some more time meeting and greetingTodd Woodbridge, Darren Cahill, more Anna.
"It?s not for any kind ofpublicity or anything like that,?? said Capriati. "I just wanted to invitethe kids to see if they would have a good time and enjoy it. I?m really happythat I can provide them with that and it just makes everything a little bitbetter. It kind of puts it all in perspective.??
Capriati, of course, hashad her own problems, but her very public pains were of the growing, ratherthan health-related variety. "That?s part of life, you have to go throughthe hard times to grow and get wiser,?? Denise Capriati said. "She?s happynow, and she feel?s good about herself. The tennis was always going to comeback if she was happy.??
She is also hoping and expectingher daughter?s maiden initiative is the first of many. "I think Jenniferis really starting to look outside her own life now. Actually it?s been therebut I don?t think she was ready; she was still getting her own life in orderand now that she feels really good about herself, she?s ready to help giveback.??
The unseeded Capriati todayplays Ai Sugiyama in her first grand slam quarter-final since 1993, the yearbefore she temporarily dropped off the tour as she struggled to cope withthe pressure of teenage fame. She travels often with her mother, and sometimeswith her father, Stefano, or 20-year-old brother, Steven, a Florida universitystudent.
As her appetite for tennishas returned, so has Capriati?s potent game. A ranking that fell off thecomputer in 1994-95 will soon be back into the top 20. And a life that isnow back on the rails led to a treasured outing yesterday for Bartholomeuszand 20-year-olds Kate Sheales (who unfortunately failed to see out the day),Alison Kuter and Andrea Jansen.
"It was a great surprisefor us,?? said Anderson, who admitted she did not doubt the identity of theAmerican woman who left the initial out-of-the-blue message, on the basisthat "the accent was the giveaway!??
CanTeen is the AustralianTeenage Cancer Patients Society, a self-funded organisation providing supportand educational and recreational programs for cancer patients aged 12-24.
Denise Capriatihas two healthy children, Jennifer and Steven, aged 23 and 20. She is alsoinvolved with a centre for abused and neglected children in Chicago. Andnow her daughter is also seeing the bigger picture.
"I think Jen?s ready to dosomething she really believes in and participate and become involved,?? shesaid. "We have a lot of time in between matches and you can?t go shoppingevery day! We just don?t realise how much help we can give.??
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