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Former Wesley Chapel resident Jennifer Capriati inducted into tennis Hall of Fame

“This is one milestone I thought I’d never achieve,” Jennifer Capriati says of going into the Hall of Fame.

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“This is one milestone I thought I’d never achieve,” Jennifer Capriati says of going into the Hall of Fame.

NEWPORT, R.I. — Jennifer Capriati's tennis career — and teenage life — took a number of twists and turns.

She started as a teenage prodigy, was sidetracked by off-court troubles and rebounded to become a three-time Grand Slam champion. Now her journey is complete with Saturday's induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

In a tear-filled acceptance speech, Capriati, 36, remembered her great moments in the game and touched on some of her troubles off the court.

"I still managed to overcome some adversity, win a gold medal, win some Grand Slams and stand at the podium at the Hall of Fame," said Capriati, who moved to Wesley Chapel at age 10 and trained at Saddlebrook Academy. "This is one milestone I thought I'd never achieve."

She finished her career in 2004 with a 430-176 record but lamented that injuries played a part in her retirement.

"It was tough having to leave the game," she said. "It's like mourning a loved one that's gone and a relationship that's gone, a part of yourself. It wasn't easy but something that's gone and what you loved to do.

"It took a while to accept that and let go. This is so great for me because it's putting a lot of closure to my career and I'm able to move forward, give thanks, take thanks, give the honor and take the honor, and just be acknowledged here. It means everything to me."

Others inducted were Gustavo Kuerten, Manuel Orantes, Mike Davies and Randy Snow, who was honored posthumously.

Kuerten, 35, was No. 1 in the world for 43 weeks and a clay specialist, winning the French Open in 1997, 2000 and 2001.

Orantes, 63, reached No. 2 in the world in 1973 and stayed in the top 10 for five years.

Davies was a driving force behind the game's move to network TV, instituting rules offering breaks for commercials to make the game more appealing to the networks.

Snow, who died in 2009, won 22 major wheelchair events.

Former Wesley Chapel resident Jennifer Capriati inducted into tennis Hall of Fame 07/14/12 [Last modified: Saturday, July 14, 2012 10:24pm]
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