Former World No. 1 and three-time Grand Slam champion, Jennifer Capriati has been elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The announcement was made on Friday by the officials of this prestigious sports honor shrine.
The former US teen prodigy would be joining the likes of former World No. 1 Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil, Spanish legend Manuel Orantes, promoter Mike Davies and the late wheelchair tennis star Randy Snow and would be the final person to be inducted on July 14 during the ATP grasscourt event at Newport, Rhode Island.
All received at least 75 percent support from a selection panel.
“I am thrilled to learn that I have been elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. This is a dream come true and an extraordinary tribute. I love this game and am incredibly honored by the Hall of Fame’s vote. 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 a delighted Capriati.
Capriati, 36, reached the finals in two of her first three WTA events as a rookie in 1990 and won her first tour title at Puerto Rico.
She reached the semi-finals of the first Grand Slam tour she played, the 1990 French Open, at the tender age of 14. It took her a long time, 11 years to be precise, before she reached the next step, reaching a major final. She had become the youngest player to crack the world top 10 at age 14 years, 235 days in October 1990, in her first season on tour.
She was on a roll for the next couple of years winning six titles in between 1990-93. This included a spectacular quarter-final win over the defending champion Martina Navratilova at the 1991 Wimbledon and a Gold Medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics where she beat none other than Steffi Graf in the final.
Her personal life took a turn for the worse with issues of drugs and shop-lifting getting her arrested and subsequently, keeping her off court.
Slowly and steadily she made her comeback in 1996 and it took her another 3 years before she could put an end to a six-year title drought in 1999. This set her up for a strong campaign in the following years and one of her best season ever in 2001.
She helped lead the US Fed Cup team to the title in 2000 and became World No. 1 in October 2001, staying on top for 18 weeks.
Capriati was a 14-time winner with major championships at the Australian Open in 2001 and 2002, as well as the French Open in 2001.
Injuries began taking their toll in 2003 and she retired at the end of the 2004 season with a career record of 430-176.