Capriati's Comeback Isn't Black and White

By Young, Josh | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 23, 1996 | Go to article overview

Capriati's Comeback Isn't Black and White


Young, Josh, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


What a long, strange trip it continues to be for Jennifer Capriati. Famous at age 13 and infamous by 18 after being arrested for possession of marijuana in a seedy South Florida motel, the 19-year-old made her second comeback to the women's tennis tour this week.

There is nothing black and white about the one-time whiz kid of tennis playing in a pro tournament again. Everything is in the gray area.

Capriati continued her comeback yesterday, beating Austrian Barbara Schrett 7-6 (8-6), 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals of the WTA tournament in Essen, Germany.

Capriati formally returned to the sport Wednesday when she gave an accomplished performance to beat seventh-seeded Kristie Boogert 6-1, 6-2. Capriati made her first, much-ballyhooed return at the Philadelphia event in November 1994, about 14 months after she left the 1993 U.S. Open in tears.

Cynics and critics called the Philadelphia appearance as a return to the lion's den, as the tournament is owned by the management company that represents her, International Management Group (IMG), and has been accused of overexposing her. Further, her agent, Barbara Perry, is the tournament director.

Capriati lost her first match in Philadelphia to Anke Huber in three sets. Afterward, Capriati said: "I'm back because the one thing I've learned is that I love this game."

She loved it so much that she didn't sign up for another tournament for more than 15 months. And this comeback has an even darker cloud hanging over it: Stefano Capriati, her domineering father.

After Stefano and Denise Capriati divorced, Jennifer moved from California to Tampa, Fla., to be coached by her father. "I've been working with my dad in Tampa and really feel like I'm ready to play," she said last week. …

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