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Capriati evolves into US Open title threat

Jennifer Capriati has advanced to the US Open women's quarter-finals after snapping a 20-month title drought last month at New Haven and the 27-year-old American is a serious threat to win her fourth Grand Slam tennis crown.

india Updated: Sep 02, 2003 21:07 IST

Jennifer Capriati is getting by with a little help from her Friend.

Capriati has advanced to the US Open women's quarter-finals after snapping a 20-month title drought last month at New Haven and the 27-year-old American is a serious threat to win her fourth Grand Slam tennis crown.

Watching alongside Capriati's father Stefano has been actor Matthew Perry, best known for his role on the long-running US television series "Friends" and likely part of the reason why Capriati says she is enjoying happy times.

"I'm in a really good place in my life right now," Capriati said. "I was getting hurt by a few relationships here and there. That was difficult. So I learned how to get through that, cope with those kind of things. The support system has to be there as well.

"That's the kind of changes I have gone through. Evolved. I went through some relationship stuff that I had to get through. Also with my career, what I wanted from it and how I wanted to take it."

The former world number one captured the 2001 French and Australian Opens and defended her Aussie crown a year later, fulfilling predictions of glory for a career that began half her life ago as a 13-year-old phenom on the WTA Tour.

In the same US Open interview room where she wept and pleaded with reporters years ago to forget her brushes with the law as a burned-out prodigy, Capriati made it clear she has taken an education as well as Grand Slam satisfaction.

"It's like a cycle, just goes over and over. I just learned you can't expect everything to be perfect and work out the way you want it," she said. "Even yourself. Sometimes I don't even understand the moods I go in and out of.

"Really, I'm just human like everyone else. Probably going to have more problems because of who I am, whatever I do. But you can't take things too personally. That's what I learned."

Capriati quit the tour in 1994 and spent nearly three years away from the pressure-packed lifestyle. She made a small-scale return over the next three years and in the past five years has found satisfaction and confidence on and off the court.

"I'm just happy for what I have and really have no complaints," she said. "I don't have to prove anything to anybody or myself. I realize I've achieved a lot, at least in my tennis. That's one less worry. That was kind of a worry before. I let that go."

And that might help her get a grip on her first US Open championship trophy.

js/mo03

First Published: Sep 02, 2003 21:07 IST