Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

First Round Is a Struggle for Capriati

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

First Round Is a Struggle for Capriati

Article excerpt

AMELIA ISLAND -- Jennifer Capriati's post-match comments were a huge insight into her career.

After beating Sylvia Plischke 7-5, 6-3 yesterday, in the first round of the Bausch & Lomb Championships, the former Olympic champion summed up what has pretty much become of her career with one sentence.

"I'm just happy to get through the first round," she said.

After an error-filled match in which she double-faulted six times, Capriati wasn't angry or frustrated. She was just relieved to have survived and advance to the second round.

"I think it's a good start for me," she said. "Nowadays, every match is tough. There's really no easy time -- winning 6-0 and 6-0 in 35 minutes. It's just tough, so I've got to expect every round to be tough.

"I'm just happy that I pulled it out."

This is what's left of Capriati's career. An Olympic title in 1992 and six WTA Tour victories -- the last coming in 1993 -- have pretty much been forgotten. Even her struggles with drugs and her other legal problems are rarely mentioned now. Instead, she is struggling to bring her ranking into the top 50 -- she was 86th entering the tournament -- but she is playing with more confidence than she has in the past few years.

"I really believe that I can win now more than I have in awhile," Capriati said. "My confidence was not there at all. I didn't believe that I could win. And now I'm starting to believe that I can win again.

"It's very tough. I didn't expect it to be as tough as it is. My thing is that I've got to keep going and trying until I can't anymore."

Capriati admitted that she almost reached that point several times last year when she struggled to qualify for several tournaments. She earned a wildcard entrance into the Bausch & Lomb, and her victory yesterday evened her 1999 singles record at 4-4 -- but it wasn't easy. …

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