When she steps onto the court, Capriati contracts a case of what Aussies call "white-line fever," sublimating her usual affable personality and turning into a fire-breathing dragon. When successive calls went against her in the final, she appealed to the chair umpire to remove the offending linesman, bellowing, "Then call the f------ referee." Says Capriati's father and coach, Stefano, "The way Jennifer plays, she says, This court is mine."
In the past Capriati had been galvanized by a desire to show the world that no, that girl with the raccoon eyes in the mug shot isn't me. Now her motivation comes from wanting to prove that 2001, and her two majors, were no aberration. The phenomenon of the Williams sisters might be tennis's driving force, but those who dismiss Capriati as a one-off forget she has more of a certain something than any other player on tour. That would be heart, of course.