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Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Caller concerned for Jennifer Capriati

Associated Press

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- A friend who called 911 when Jennifer Capriati overdosed on prescription medication was concerned for her safety because she was going through "personal things," according to a portion of the call obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The caller's name was not released and he identified himself as a friend. He said he had just spoken with the former top-ranked tennis player and that she "couldn't form a sentence."

"I tried calling her and when I was talking to her, she couldn't even talk," said the caller, adding that he hoped she might be kidding.

"But if she's not, I don't want to take a chance," he said.

Lacey Wickline, the Capriati spokeswoman who originally called the incident on June 27 an accidental overdose on prescription medication, said Wednesday she no longer represents Capriati. She referred comment to Capriati's brother, Steven, who did not immediately respond to messages on his cell phone and e-mail.

The portion of the call that has been released was obtained by The Associated Press through repeated public records request. Riviera Beach officials first denied the request and then twice released the audio with redacted information.

Capriati was rushed to a hospital from her condo on Singer Island, part of which is overseen by Riviera Beach authorities. She was recovering well, Wickline said at the time. The medication has not been identified.

The 911 caller told the operator, "A friend of mine called and said ... " but then the tape seems to be redacted and skips to the next part.

The operator later asked, "You said you did speak with her?"

And the caller responded, "Yeah, she called and said ... ," and again the audio seems to be redacted and skips to the next part.

"I'm just really worried for her," the caller said. "She's going through a lot of personal things and, I don't know. I did talk to her and she couldn't form a sentence. That's all I can tell you."

The overdose was the latest in a career often sidetracked by personal troubles for Capriati.

A child prodigy on the tennis court and once the world's No. 1-ranked player, Capriati burned out and retired several times.

Capriati was arrested in 1993 for shoplifting at a Florida mall and again the next year for marijuana possession. She also spent more than a week in drug rehabilitation in 1994, and acquaintances alleged she used crack cocaine and heroin during a weekend party before her arrest at a Coral Gables motel.

Capriati, however, came back strong several times from both injuries and personal issues.

She won three majors -- two Australian Opens and one French Open between 2001-02 -- to go along with her gold medal in the 1992 Olympics. She was the youngest semifinalist at the French Open in 1990, when at age 14 she lost to Monica Seles, the eventual champion.

Capriati reached the U.S. Open semifinals in 2003, losing to Justine Henin. She failed to gain any momentum from that run and soon faded from the game again.