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Jennifer Capriati

Returned To Tennis

Capriati stayed away from tennis for the next year and a half. Her parents had divorced in 1995 and rumors began circulating about Capriati's stability and whether she would ever return to tennis. In August of 1996 Capriati did return to the tour, although her performance was lackluster. "If Capriati loves competitive tennis, she has a hard time showing it," wrote Ian O'Connor of the New York Daily News. "There were few expressions of misery in defeat, fewer signs of passion." Capriati lost in the first rounds of the French and U.S. Opens. She ended the 1997 season ranked 24 in the world.

Awards and Accomplishments

1988 U.S. Hard Court 18-and-under singles
1988 U.S. Clay Court 18-and-under singles
1989 French Open junior singles title
1989 U.S. Open junior singles title
1989 U.S. Open junior doubles title with Meredith McGrath
1989 Wimbledon junior doubles title with Meredith McGrath
1989 Astrid Bowl junior singles title
1989 Easter Bowl 16-and-under singles title
1989 Named World Tennis and TENNIS magazine Junior Player of the Year
1989 Named Athlete of the Year in the Sport of Tennis by the U.S. Olympic Committee
1989 U.S. Wightman Cup Team
1990 First singles title in San Juan, Puerto Rico
1990 Received Sanex Women's Tennis Association Tour Most Impressive Newcomer Award
1990 TENNIS magazine/Rolex Watch Female Rookie of the Year
1990-91, 2000 U.S. Fed Cup Team
1991 Two singles titles in San Diego, California and Toronto, Canada
1991 Doubles title with Monica Seles at Italian Open
1991 Named Most Improved Female Player by TENNIS magazine
1992 Singles title in San Diego, California
1992 Singles Gold Medal at the Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain
1993 Singles title in Sydney, Australia
1996 Named Comeback Player of the Year by TENNIS magazine
1999 Two singles titles in Strasbourg, Germany and Quebec, Canada
2000 Singles title in Luxembourg
2001 First Grand Slam singles title at Australian Open
2001 Singles title at Charleston, South Carolina
2001 Second Grand Slam singles title at French Open
2001 Ranked number one women's player
2001 Named Sports Woman of the Year by the U.S. Olympic Committee
2001 Named Sports Illustrated Sports Woman of the Year
2001 World Singles Champion, International Tennis Federation
2001 Named Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year
2001 Voted Sportswoman of the Year by Reuters
2001 Received Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award
2001 Named Women's Tennis Association Tour Player of the Month in January, April, and June
2002 Third Grand Slam singles title at Australian Open
2002 Received ESPY Award for Best Comeback Athlete
2002 Received Laureus Sports Award for Female Athlete of the Year
2002 Named January Player of the Month by the International Tennis Writer's Association

Capriati continued to struggle for the next couple of years. She lost in the early rounds of the Grand Slam tournaments. In 1997 she was ranked only 66 in the

Jennifer Capriati

world, and by the end of 1998 her ranking slipped to 101. However, Capriati began to turn her game around by 1999 with the help of a new coach, Harold Solomon. She captured her first title in six years in Strasbourg, and followed up with another title in Quebec City by defeating Chanda Rubin. She also reached the fourth round at the French and U.S. Opens. Capriati's success landed her a lucrative endorsement deal with Fila.

Even though her career was picking up, the media continued to focus on her troubled past. During a press conference for the 1999 U.S. Open, Capriati read from a statement to the press apologizing for the troubles of her youth and requesting the media to focus on her current career rather than the past. The following year marked more successes for Capriati. In 2000 she reached her first Grand Slam semifinal in nine years at the Australian Open, although she lost to Lindsey Davenport. Capriati won a singles title in Luxembourg that year and played singles and doubles for the U.S. Fed Team. She ended the year ranked 17 in the world.

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