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Capriati was both the effervescent eighth-grader who was worth million the instant she turned pro and the sullen-looking girl with heavy mascara and a nose ring who was in trouble with the law, first for shoplifting a piece of jewelry in December 1993 and then for possession of marijuana five months later.
By the time she was 17, Capriati had two stints in drug rehab as well as two Grand Slam semifinal appearances.
The Everts are regarded as a tennis family that did it right in many ways.
I can still remember the applause for Jennifer that day, too, because that ovation still ranks right up there with the most fantastic responses from a crowd that I ever, ever heard on the tennis court."What Capriati was able to accomplish in that stretch of her career after not winning a single match at a major from 1994 till '99 is "amazing," Shriver maintains."Think about it," she says. Hingis, who turned pro at 14, once fired her mother as her coach.
"Jennifer still won as many majors as Lindsay Davenport, who was a four- or five-time and year-end No. Andre Agassi resented his father for forcing him to play as a young child and recently confessed to trying crystal meth.
She fell just two matches short of winning Wimbledon and heading into the U. After the match, Henin was lying on a training table getting four IVs. It isn't always just the people across the net from her.
Shriver, now a TV analyst, has seen all of the tennis greats over the past 35 years and yet she says, "That second Australian title that Jennifer won in that extraordinary heat wave still ranks as one of those matches you remember the rest of your life. People have always had a lot of affection for her because they knew she persevered through a lot of challenges, expectations -- through everything."There is a distinct pattern to Capriati, all right. But Capriati's struggles to transition into a forced retirement or overcome being a child prodigy are not unique.
She produced some of the most memorable matches women's tennis saw in the first half of this decade.
The thunderclap start was a straight-sets victory against Martina Hingis for her first career Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in 2001.
The tennis world, her agents, the press and players have let her down -- me included.
To have had so much success, highs, adrenaline, focus, attention, adulation on one at such a young age, and then to have it whisked away from under your feet in a nanosecond is debilitating and damaging. People who always told her how great she was and patted her on the back were soon on to the next young star."Within hours of Capriati's hospitalization last month, a family spokeswoman issued a statement saying Capriati had accidentally taken too many prescription pills but was in stable condition.
Evert's father, Jimmy, a public parks pro, coached Jennifer from the age of 4 until Capriati's dad, Stefano, took over.
Evert's brother, John, was Capriati's first agent at IMG.
The experiences of Jaeger and Tracy Austin are cautionary tales of the mental and physical grind of tennis stardom achieved too young.