Rick Macci considers Jennifer Capriati to be one of his favourite students of all time
Rick Macci has coached some of the biggest names in tennis over his career. However, he still holds former World No. 1 Jennifer Capriati right up there as one of his “favorite students of all time.”
Macci recollected his experience of working with Capriati, who started training as his protege at the age of just 10-years-old. The American revealed that he knew Capriati was destined to be one of the best players in the world from the first moment they met.
Macci’s justification for this bold prediction came from Capriati’s amazing form and basics, which she had learned from Jimmy Evert. Evert, incidentally, had been the father and coach of 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert.
“Jennifer Capriati is one of my favorite students of all time. She came to me as a ten-year-old and right away I knew that she could be one of the best players in the world,” Macci said. “She had amazing balance and good fundamentals.”
Rick Macci was proud of Capriati for making a comeback late in her career. She won two Majors in 2001, i.e., the French Open and the Australian Open after taking a break from the game at the end of 1993.
More than just her mental strength, Macci praised Capriati’s flawless tennis ability. He divulged that it ensured that she could compete at the elite level even after she was out of action for more than two years.
“To become No.1 in the world, to become a Top-10 player aged 14 and then come back after a hiccup to win two Grand Slams. Forget the mental fortitude. She had firepower,” Macci said. “She had all the weapons to go right back in the field and play through anybody. All that started when she was 10-years-old.”
Jennifer Capriati turned professional at the age of 13 under the tutelage of Rick Macci
Jennier Capriati turned pro at the age of 13 with Rick Macci as her coach
At the age of just 13, Jennifer Capriati played her first match as a tennis professional in 1990 with Rick Macci as her coach. In her Grand Slam debut at that year’s French Open, she went as far as the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Monica Seles.
Capriati became the youngest ever player to be ranked in the Top-10 at the age of 14 years and 235 days, and ended 1990 as the year-end World No. 8. She also won the Gold Medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. However, personal struggles forced Capriati to take a break after the 1993 US Open.
Capriati reappeared on the tennis circuit in 1996 and had to wait until 2001 to become the World No. 1. In addition to winning the two aforementioned Grand Slams, she also reached the semifinals in the remaining two Majors.
In 2012, Jennifer Capriati was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the age of 36.