This is a tirade against singleminded devotion to tennis. Well. Sort of. It's more a cautionary tale, as our own Savannah called it when bringing it to my attention over at TAT.
I haven't always been a fan of Jennifer Capriati. Well. Actually, I've never been a fan of hers. Something about her rubbed me the wrong way. But I respected the battles she fought between the lines, especially all those classics against Serena Williams.
Now, however, it seems more and more likely there won't be a new chapter in that great rivalry. For the time being, Jennifer is fighting a far more serious battle. One that will require all the strength and courage she can muster.
I respect her for speaking out and I wish her well.
Match of her life
Jennifer Capriati tries to beat her demons
BY WAYNE COFFEY
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
Sunday, July 15th 2007, 8:10 AM
JUPITER, Fla. - Jennifer Capriati can't remember where she was when she first had thoughts of killing herself. Between the doctor visits and the pain and the idleness, the timeline isn't easy to keep straight.
She just remembers being boxed in by bleakness, battered by doubts about her purpose and her worth, pounding herself harder than she ever hit any tennis ball. Here she was, a Grand Slam champion and Olympic gold medalist and former No. 1 player in the world, reduced to this, a lost soul with a bad shoulder, a woman in a vice grip of depression.
In those dark moments, neither her successes nor her $10 million in career earnings could offer a shred of comfort. She'd look at the baseline of her life and see nothing but her own faults.
"Sometimes you get to a point where you can't stop what you are thinking," Capriati says. "It's like you're being taken over by a demon. You just feel there's no way out of this space you're in. It feels like the end of the world. When you are just so exhausted and tired of feeling that way, you (think), 'I want to be off this planet right now, because I just feel disgusting inside. I can't even stand my own skin, and I just want to get out.'"
Capriati pauses a moment. "The more you stuff it and don't talk about it, the more it festers and eats you up inside," she says. "It helps to talk about it with other people who go through it. You can't wear an iron shield all the time."