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Dec 9, 2012 8:54pm
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NEWPORT, R. Jerry Hughes Jersey .I. —Jennifer Capriati
went from teen prodigy to off-court troubles to Grand Slam champion, and now
shes headed to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Capriatis election was
announced Friday, joining a 2012 class that includes Gustavo Kuerten, Manuel
Orantes, Randy Snow and Mike Davies. “Tennis has been my passion and dedication
for my entire life, and to be acknowledged for this passion and dedication is
truly icing on the cake,” said the 36-year-old Capriati. “Finally, to all of my
fans: You mean so much to me. I am, and have always been, blessed beyond words
by your support both during and after my playing days. You unquestionably made
this game so memorable for me and I miss you all so much.” With a power-based
game and competitive fire, Capriati won the Australian Open in 2001 and 2002.
She won the French Open in 2001 and a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics. She also
reached No. 1 in the WTA rankings. “We are delighted to hear the news that
Jennifer has been elected to the Hall of Fame. She indeed is one of our greatest
players, known for her remarkable success and powerful style of play,” WTA
chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster said in a statement. “Jennifer worked hard and
fought hard. Congratulations to her on an honour well deserved.” At 14, just out
of eighth grade, Capriati reached the semifinals of the first Grand Slam
tournament she played—the 1990 French Open. Another 11 years would pass
before she would take the next step, reaching a major final. Drug and other
problems sidetracked her, and Capriati temporarily dropped off the tour after
the 1993 U.S. Open. She was arrested that year for shoplifting at a Florida
mall, and again the next year for marijuana possession. She also spent time in
drug rehabilitation in 1994. After going more than two years without playing a
competitive match, Capriati came back in April 1996. Two years later, her
ranking dipped to No. 267. But she really completed her comeback—and reached
heights long expected of her—in 2001, when she was selected as The Associated
Press Female Athlete of th