Jennifer Marie Capriati (born March 29, 1976, in New York City) is a former professional tennis player, ranked number one in the world for a short time, and the winner of three women's singles championships in Grand Slam tournaments. Capriati made her professional debut in 1990 at the age of 14 when she reached the finals of the hard court tournament in Boca Raton, Florida, losing there to Gabriela Sabatini. Capriati reached the semifinals of the French Open in her debut and later became the youngest ever player to crack the top 10 at age 14 years, 235 days in October of that year. Between 1990 and 1993, Capriati won six singles titles, including a Gold Medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, defeating Steffi Graf in the final. Following a first round loss at the 1993 U.S. Open, the burned out Capriati took a 14-month break from competitive pro tennis. Her personal struggles during this time (including arrests for shoplifting and possession of marijuana) were well-documented by the press.
In 1998, Capriati won her first Grand Slam singles match in five years at Wimbledon. During the next two years, Capriati slowly returned to championship form, winning her first title in six years in Strasbourg, France in 1999 and regaining a top 20 ranking. At the 2001 Australian Open, the reinvigorated Capriati became the lowest seed to ever win the championship when she defeated Martina Hingis (ranked number one in the world at the time) in straight sets for her first Grand Slam championship. She also won the French Open that year, claiming the number one ranking in October. After successfully defending her Australian Open crown in 2002, Capriati became a top ten mainstay until injuries derailed her career in 2004.
Capriati won 14 professional singles tournaments during her career, along with one women's doubles championship.
In 2005, Tennis magazine ranked Capriati number 36 in its list of the 40 greatest players in the 40 years of that magazine.
Capriati was one of the first "power players" to emerge on the women's circuit in the early-to-mid-1990s, along with Monica Seles, Lindsay Davenport, and Mary Pierce. Her style of play is characterized by taking the ball early and on the rise, powerful ground-strokes, and an aggressive mindset on the return of service.
Capriati's game was built around her groundstrokes and movement. Her flat forehand, devastating when hit hard, was considered her biggest weapon, especially when she was stretched out wide. She also possessed a solid backhand. She was quick around the court, able to play defense as well as offense. Her biggest weakness was considered to be her serve. Her first serve was powerful, but offset by a wandering ball-toss, and her second serve was considered to be the most attackable part of her game. However, Capriati was known to counter her inconsistent serve with her exceptional return of serve
Capriati made her professional debut as a 13 year old, reaching the finals of two of her first three pro events, losing to Gabriela Sabatini and Martina Navratilova at Boca Raton and Hilton Head, respectively, earning her first two wins over top ten players (No. 10 Helena Suková and No. 5. Arantxa Sánchez Vicario). She entered the rankings in April, at No. 23. Capriati made her Grand Slam debut at the French Open. She went all the way to the semifinals, losing to eventual champion Monica Seles. She then reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, losing to Steffi Graf. Later in the year Capriati won her first career title in Puerto Rico, defeating Zina Garrison. After this victory Capriati entered the world's top 10. She qualified for the WTA Championships, narrowly losing to Graf in the first round in three sets. She finished her first season as a professional at World No 8.
Throughout the season Capriati set multiple "youngest ever" records. She was the youngest player to reach a tour final, the youngest player to reach the semifinals at the French Open, the youngest seed ever at Wimbledon, and the youngest player to qualify for the season-ending championships. She was also the fourth-youngest player to win a WTA title.
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