Capriati On Hiatus

January 17, 1994|By N.Y. Times News Service

In a twist on early retirement that's unprecedented in tennis, Jennifer Capriati, 17, has decided to temporarily walk away from the sport that anointed her its brightest superstar at 13, but has brought her as much stress as success.

The 12th-ranked Capriati will miss the first Grand Slam of 1994, the Australian Open, which began today, and she also may skip the year's second Grand Slam, the French Open in May, because it conflicts with the finish of her high school career.

Capriati, who hasn't played a match since her first-round exit from the U.S. Open last summer and endured a chronic battle with bone chips in her elbow through much of 1993, has decided to finish high school first.

"I need a break from it," Capriati said from her apartment in Tampa, Fla. "It's unfortunate I had an injury, especially one that required such a long recuperation, but I feel I've made the most of my break from the tour. And I've decided I want to concentrate on finishing my senior year."

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