After a 14-month absence, Jennifer Capriati returned-to the women's tennis tour last week. SI's Sally Jenkins checked in on her at the Virginia Slims of Philadelphia:
Even if Capriati's return wasn't wholly triumphant—she suffered a first-round loss to eventual tournament winner Anke Huber after tiring in the third set—she reappeared with her smile intact and her game in the care of a new coach, José Higueras, who's known for developing fit clay-court champions. Capriati may well recapture the form that enabled her to win an Olympic gold in Barcelona. The question is whether her head is together again. Unlike the effervescent girl who turned pro and made her first million before her 15th birthday, Capriati at 18 is a wary young woman, a survivor of burnout and, as a result of a settlement following her arrest for misdemeanor possession of marijuana last spring, a month in a Miami drug-rehab facility. "I experienced a lot, I got wiser, and I found out what makes me happy," says Capriati. "I learned I really love the game, and it doesn't matter if I win or lose. I want to compete again."
If Capriati returns to the top ranks of the game, the pressures that once tripped her up will still be there, so for her sake it's fortunate that the WTA Tour Players Association will adopt the ATP Tour's more stringent drug-testing program in January. One veteran Top 10 player recently told SI that she has never been tested under the WTA's current program. Both Capriati and women's tennis will be well served by this more vigilant policy.
Here's a sports story with fizz: Scott Brown, who worked in player development for the New York Mets until leaving last July to take a job in Florida as a salesman for Coca-Cola, has returned to the Mets. He will be assistant general manager of their Double A affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y. His boss there? One R.C. Reuteman. "And," says Brown, "I think we sell Pepsi at our ballpark."
Now watch the team go seven up in its division.
Every time Yale hockey goalie Todd Sullivan takes his position in the net for the Bulldogs, he knows his father will be cheering from the stands. Oh, sure, there was the tournament in Alaska two years ago that the elder Sullivan simply blew off, and he did arrive too late for the Harvard game last season. But give the old man his due. How many other hockey parents commute to their sons' games—from El Salvador?
Paul Sullivan, 53, a former professional tennis player and a graduate of Harvard, of all places, is co-owner of a textile company based near San Salvador. Though he still maintains a home in Wayland, Mass., where Todd grew up, he spends most of the winter in Central America, more than seven hours by plane from Boston. "He'll fly in the afternoon of the game and fly out that night or sometimes the next morning," says Todd, a senior political science major who hopes to play in the NHL. "If we have a couple of games in a row, he'll rent a car and drive from one to the next. He's pretty supportive, I guess."
Paul was in New Haven last Friday when the Bulldogs beat the Crimson 3-2, and he says he'll be at every game this season. And if his son makes the pros?