Jennifer Capriati Doing OK after OD, Friend Says

June 29th, 2010 by Staff

(CBS) Former tennis great Jennifer Capriati is in trouble again.

Her family says she’s recovering this morning after an accidental drug overdose.

As a teen, Capriati rose quickly rose through the ranks, capturing a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics. But after being arrested for shoplifting and marijuana possession a year later, her career quickly derailed. And though she did rally a decade later to win three Grand Slam titles, she’s struggled ever since.

On “The Early Show” Tuesday, Justin Gimelstob, a former tennis star and a friend of Capriati’s, said he’s heard from Jennifer’s mother, who told him Jennifer is doing well physically and is resting.

Gimelstob said, “(Jennifer’s mother is) a very religious woman. She said God is good, God is taking care of her. It’s the tabloids that might need God’s help.’ So there’s a little resentment there, but Jennifer’s been through so much. You can never tell the collateral damage that being a child prodigy has on you.”

He continued, “It’s tough. She’s been through so many things and you just can’t account for what it’s like when you don’t have a normal childhood, you don’t have the social interaction. And she’s a courageous woman, and look what she came back from just one time to come back and be No. 1 in the world and to be a multiple Grand Slam champion, but she said it best: She said tennis gives her the structure. Without that, that’s when the problems ensue and she’s had trouble finding an identity and a sense of purpose, especially when you’re not able to finish on her own terms.”

Gimelstob added Capriati’s major shoulder surgeries haven’t hampered her aspirations to play, “But she’s in tremendous pain physically and mentally. She struggled with depression, and it’s a tough story.”

Gimelstob said Wimbledon’s current play has made an impact on Capriati.

“That’s no doubt that, with the heightened focus with Wimbledon and tennis being on everyone’s radar, that it makes her feel even worse,” he said. “She feels like the tennis world has deserted her, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth. So many players have such an outpouring of support and empathy. Jen is such a sweet spirit and has done so much great things in the sport and the spot loves her and only wishes her the best. But she has a huge void that she needs to fill. When you’re a young prodigy and every single day of your life is based on trying to be the best you can be, when that’s taken away from you, there’s no telling what toll that has on you.”


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