Capriati `a major threat'

 

LINDSAY Davenport believes Jennifer Capriati is a major contender at the Sydney International tournament after a remarkable performance this week.

"I think all the players consider her pretty much a seed ... a major, major threat anyway," Davenport said after an unconvincing win herself over fellow American Lisa Raymond.

Capriati (20), who was not seeded in the tournament, announced she was back in business yesterday after a fighting three-sets victory over fellow American Chanda Robin.

She was clearly thrilled with the success over the highly-regarded Rub in and vowed to make a go of her tennis career after dropping out of the Tour in 1993 and becoming embroiled in drugs and shoplifting charges.

After despatching Canadian Rene Simpson 6-3, 6-2, Capriati said her confidence was growing with each game she played.

"I just hope to keep the momentum going ... and keep doing what I'm doing," she said, adding that since she had not yet met up with many of the top players she would keep her sights fairly low.

"I expect all matches to be tough," she said.

Capriati's return to grace is far from complete though. She has neither a permanent coach nor the other essential accessory for the modern tennis professional sponsors.

On court this week she has worn unmarked sports gear and her Diadora shoes are only the vestige of a long-cancelled sponsorship.

Davenport, who was runner-up to Monica Seles in the event last year, came out fighting against Raymond to lead 4-1 in the first set but a series of errors in extremely gusty conditions soon put Raymond in the running.