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Friday, April 13, 2012
Jennifer Capriati makes tennis Hall

Associated Press

NEWPORT, R.I. -- Jennifer Capriati went from teen prodigy to off-court troubles to Grand Slam champion.

Now she's headed to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Capriati's 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."

Jennifer Capriati
Jennifer Capriati enters the Hall of Fame with a 430-176 career record, including back-to-back wins at the Australian Open and a gold medal.

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 honor 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 the Year. Seeded 12th at that year's Australian Open, Capriati beat past champions Monica Seles, Lindsay Davenport and Martina Hingis en route to the title and her first top-10 ranking in seven years.

She retired in 2004 with a career record of 430-176, including 14 singles titles.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is July 14.