Capriati Rejoices over Stunning Comeback

Published June 28th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Former Olympic champion Jennifer Capriati continued her tennis rehabilitation with a convincing 6-2, 6-4 first round win over Eastbourne finalist Belgium's Dominique Van Roost in London at Wimbledon Tuesday. 

The 24-year-old American, who won the gold medal at Barcelona in 1992, suffered a slump in form afterwards and reached rock-bottom with an arrest for shop-lifting. 

The cynics were ready to dismiss her as a classic case of teenage burnout, another example of the American dream becoming a nightmare. 

But real lives don't always follow the conventions of cheap novels and Capriati has been slowly working her way back up the rankings. 

In 1999 she had her best season for six years, winning two titles and finishing the year ranked 23 in the world. 

Along the road to recovery Capriati has gone back to basics, reinstating her father, once a cartoonist, as her coach and parting company with "tennis doctor," Harold Solomon. 

And she insists she is not missing her former coach's wisdom. 

"Just because we got together and had that relationship, it doesn't, it's not always going to last forever. I'm going to move on and he's going to move on also," explained Capriati a Wimbledon semifinalist in 1991. 

If one of the signs of growing up is greater self-reliance Capriati appears to be leaving her childhood self behind. 

"I think I've definitely had enough experience, playing this game on tour. Hopefully I'm strong-willed enough that I don't need somebody there all the time. 

"You know I'm not like a little baby here." 

Maybe so, but Daddy is now her coach again, although Capriati insists their relationship has changed. 

"Before it was just kind of he was my dad, there kind of doing everything. But now it's just on the court stuff" - (AFP) 


© 2000 Al Bawaba (

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