HoF to induct Capriati on Saturday

July 12, 2012

LOS ANGELES — Tennis Channel will offer live coverage as former teen phenomenon Jennifer Capriati is inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame Saturday, July 14, at 12:30 p.m. ET. The ceremony will take place on the historic grass-court stadium at the Hall’s grounds in Newport, R.I., and include the inductions of Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten, the first South American to reach No. 1 in the men’s singles rankings, and three other honorees.

The celebration will showcase speeches by the new Hall of Famers and friends or family members that they have personally chosen to introduce them. The event typically sells out, with 4,000 fans in the stands and another 300 watching a live simulcast in the Hall of Fame theatre.

Former World No. 1 singles player Capriati made her professional tennis debut at the age of 13, reaching the finals in two of her first three events and advancing to the semifinals at the French Open before losing to Monica Seles. In her first season on the WTA Tour she captured her first title and became the youngest player to crack the top 10 in the rankings at just 14 years old. In a career interrupted at times by personal setbacks, she reached the tour’s top ranking in October 2001 and held the position for 17 weeks. She won three major singles championships – two at the Australian Open (2001, 2002) and one at the French Open (2001) – and an Olympic gold medal in 1992. Capriati also competed on U.S. Fed Cup teams that won championships in 1990, 1996 and 2000.

Gustavo “Guga” Kuerten won his first French Open in 1997 and became the first Brazilian to win a major singles title since Maria Bueno in 1966. After capturing his second French Open championship in 2000, he beat Andre Agassi in the final of the Tennis Masters Cup later that year to become the first South American in ATP rankings history to finish the year as World No. 1. Kuerten won his final French Open title in 2001. He was ranked World No. 1 for 43 non-consecutive weeks during his career.

This Saturday’s International Tennis Hall of Fame inductions will also include Spanish tennis legend Manuel Orantes, who defeated Jimmy Connors to claim the 1975 US Open title and played a vital role on Spain’s Davis Cup squad for many years. In addition to Orantes, tennis entrepreneur and promoter Mike Davies will be inducted for transforming the sport via innovations that include today’s colored tennis ball and the implementation of long-term, lucrative television contracts. Rounding out the class of 2012, late Paralympic tennis gold medalist Randy Snow will be the second wheelchair tennis player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.