A former world No. 1, Capriati won three Grand Slam tournament titles and an Olympic gold medal during her career.
NEWPORT, R.I., USA, April 13, 2012 – American tennis star and former world No. 1 Jennifer Capriati has been elected to receive the highest honor in the sport of tennis- induction to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. In addition to her world No. 1 status, Capriati’s successful career featured an Olympic gold medal, three Grand Slam titles, a Fed Cup title with the United States team, and an ability to stage remarkable comebacks. Capriati cracked the world top-10 in 1990, her first season on tour, and in October 2001, she became the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) World No. 1, a position she held for a total of 18 weeks.
“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 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. I can’t wait to go to Newport to express my sincere appreciation to my fans, and celebrate with them, my family, my coaches, and everyone else in the tennis community. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I truly feel humbled to be a part of history and am honored to be considered among the greatest of all time.”
Capriati has been elected to the Hall of Fame in the Recent Player Category, and she is the final member of the Hall of Fame Class of 2012 to be announced. The previously announced members of the Class of 2012 are former world No. 1, Brazilian tennis star Guga Kuerten; Spanish tennis legend Manuel Orantes; tennis administrator and promoter Mike Davies; and wheelchair tennis star Randy Snow, who will be honored posthumously. The Class of 2012 Induction Ceremony will be held on July 14, 2012 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.
“Jennifer Capriati had one of the most accomplished and exciting tennis careers in recent years, and she is most deserving of the honor of Hall of Fame election. We look forward to celebrating this achievement with her and her fans,” said Christopher E. Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Capriati, 36, is originally from New York, N.Y., but she has been a long-time resident of Tampa and West Palm Beach, Fla.
In her first season on the WTA, 1990, Capriati reached the finals of two of her first three pro events, losing to Hall of Famers Gabriela Sabatini and Martina Navratilova, and she advanced to the semifinals of the French Open before falling to eventual champion Monica Seles. She also captured her first career title in her first season on tour, defeating Zina Garrison at Puerto Rico.
In 1992, Capriati won the Olympic gold medal at the Barcelona games, defeating both the second-seeded Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario and the top-seeded Stefanie Graf. She was a member of the championship United States Fed Cup team in 2000.
Capriati took a break from tennis in 1994-95 and 1997-98, staging a successful comeback in the 1999, 2000, and 2001 seasons.
At the Australian Open in 2001, Capriati defeated top seed and world No. 1 Martina Hingis in straight sets to win her first Grand Slam title. Having entered the tournament seeded No. 12, she was the lowest seed to ever win the title, a record that still stands today. She then entered the French Open seeded No. 4, and defeated No.1 seed Hingis in the semifinals and No. 12 seed Kim Clijsters in the final to win her second consecutive Grand Slam title. She was the only player that year to reach at least the semifinals of all four of the Grand Slam tournaments.
In 2002, Capriati advanced to her second consecutive Australian Open final, this time as No. 1 seed. Once again facing Hingis, Capriati fought back from 6-4, 4-0 down and saved four championship points, in brutally hot weather, to eventually prevail 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-2, to claim her third Grand Slam title. The match was widely regarded as one of the greatest comebacks in tennis history, and it was named one of the ten best matches of the decade by Tennis magazine. The dramatic match earned Capriati the 2002 ESPY Award for Comeback Player of the Year, for which the other nominees were Hockey Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux and Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan.
Capriati stopped playing at the end of the 2004 season, having compiled a career record of 430-176 and having won 14 career singles titles and 1 doubles title.
Eligibility & Voting
The International Tennis Hall of Fame elects people in three categories- Recent Player, Master Player, and Contributor. Capriati has been elected in the Recent Player Category. Eligibility criteria for this category is as follows: active as competitors in the sport within the last 20 years prior to consideration; not a significant factor on the ATP World Tour or WTA within five years prior to induction; a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship, and character. A panel of International Tennis Media vote on the Recent Player nominee. A 75% favorable vote is required for election.
Located in Newport, Rhode Island, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of tennis and honoring its greatest champions and contributors.