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It would be nice if Jen would someday be able to play some senior events at the slams. I’m not sure she’ll ever be able to due to the injuries that ended her career. :frown2:
 

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It would be nice if Jen would someday be able to play some senior events at the slams. I’m not sure she’ll ever be able to due to the injuries that ended her career. :frown2:
Oddly enough I was there when she hit her last ball as a pro in Philadelphia. Clearly in pain the whole time, she looked back in the stands at Papa and her brother and shook her head her head back nodding "no". JCap was holding her shoulder and coul hardly serve at all. Rather than quit though she played out the match. I always though Papa pushed her too much.
 

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I often wonder how her career would have played out had she won the 91 U.S Open. Surely she would have done better in 92 and 93 atleast, and maybe not burnt out and had to leave the game a few years, and taken until 99/2000 to even reach a respectable level again. She may not have dominated, but I cant believe she would have remained as Tennis Magazine put it "still only about the 7th best player in the world) for both all of 92 and 93.
 

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I don’t know. She was only 15 at that point and even though she had just creamed a nervy Martina on grass, I don’t think she would have won the final as easily. I felt like she should have won the semi and while it had to have been a painful loss, she had to think she had years of those opportunities in front of her. Didn’t Her mother confess she didn’t want her to win that soon? Or was that Wimbledon earlier that summer?

Obviously it had a huge effect on her because the Unruly Petulant Jen soon emerged thereafter. Sports Illustrated did an article on The Lipton (I still call it that!) the following spring and noted a marked difference in her demeanor, behavior and even looks that was not flattering.

She had two high points that year - one huge, the other kind of expected - first nailing Monica in Miami in straights and then that fantastic gold medal victory over Steffi in Barcelona. And that was it, back to mediocre petulant Jen. Would being the US Open title holder have changed all that? Probably, but it’s hard not to see her as going through much of the same path given that she was 16 in 1992, had been on tour for 3 years and was completely the family bread winner. Even if she won that USO I think she still would’ve have understandably rebelled.

14-17 are such difficult years for any kid, but can you even imagine going through that on the worlds stage? Starting out as the most popular fun 14 year old in the world and then going through the drastic personality searching phases we all do at that point, but with not only the world watching, but your sponsor Oil of Olay (why at 15!!) bearing witness to your first acne breakout?

I cannot imagine.

I don’t think Jen had the solid support system, wherewithal and smarts that Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Chris Evert and Tracy Austin did.
And really only Tracy went through the same experience but on a much smaller scale. Chris, Monica and Hingis were all 16 when monster celebrity firmly hit. Steffi as well.

But I would have LOVED Jen to have won that 1991 open and continued on the path that we all had projected her into the future, fighting Steffi and Monica toe to toe - youth always prevailing. It would have been so much more exciting and interesting and the sport would have greatly benefited - I don’t think that 1994 SI cover story (is Tennis Dead?) would have existed had Jen risen up to their heights (and OBVIOUSLY Monica not been stabbed in this glorious fantasy scenario!).

Oddly the 90s mirrored the 80s for me in some ways. I always envisioned the 80s as Tracy, Andrea and Hana putting Chris and Martina firmly in their place for the entire decade. I thought Jen and Monica would do the same to Steffi as the 90s wore on.

Little did I know.
 

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I am pretty sure Capriati would have won the final since:

1. Martina played a very poor final in fact. Had she played that way in the semis, she never comes close to even beating a slightly subpar Graf. Graf IMO would have beaten Seles at this Open btw, so Martina did Seles a huge favor by turning back the clock in the semis then showing up super flat for the final. It is hard to see Capriati being nervous enough or playing poorly enough to lose to Martina the way she played in the final.

2. Capriati had just beaten Martina in straight sets on grass. Combine that with coming off multiple wins over Sabatini and Seles, not just the Open, but her pre Open tournament wins beating them en route, and she would be rolling in confidence. She would not lose to Martina on hard courts after just beating her in straight sets on grass, and on a terrific roll that summer.
 

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I pretty much agree with your assessment on Capriati overall though, and that the meltdown probably would have happened even winning the 91 U.S Open. Although she might have had a somewhat more sparkling 92 and 93 atleast. I cant imagine her going back to losing every match to Sabatini (who she was starting to overturn, beating her 3 straight times post Wimbledon 91) and staying clearly behind the top 5 or 6 including Sanchez, an old Navratilova, and even Novotna, had she won the 91 U.S Open. She would surely have atleast been a stronger contender for 92 or 93.

Your example of the Olympic Gold not making a big difference is a good one, but my counter to that is the Olympics werent even really that big a deal back then, not to nearly the extent they are today. While it was an emotionally uplifting win for Capriati, I am not sure it was ever going to be a huge confidence boost or momentum builder either, anywhere close to the level of a slam title or even a Miami title.
 

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Jennifer Capriati vs Serena Williams | Full Match | 2003 Miami Final

 
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