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Title IX question leaves Capriati without answer

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 30, 2002

NEW YORK -- Ask Jennifer Capriati about Title IX and she'd rather talk about tennis.

After her victory Thursday over Tina Pisnik, Capriati was asked the usual questions about her foe, the match and her game. Then someone threw a curveball.

"President Bush has been holding town meetings across the country about Title IX," the reporter said. "He's considering changing this important legislation that's helped women get involved in sports. If you could say something to President Bush, what would you say?"

Capriati's reply was a stunner.

"I have no idea what Title IX is," she said. "Sorry."

Donna Lopiano, executive director of the Women's Sports Foundation, wasn't shocked that Capriati, 26, knew nothing about the federal legislation mandating equal opportunity for women in college sports. The law marked its 30th anniversary last month.

"So many of this generation of tennis players never played in college," Lopiano said. "They started young. They never played in the Title IX construct. They never ran into it. ... She (Capriati) has been totally sheltered from the issues for a long time."

Chris De Maria, a spokesman for the WTA Tour, said players have a one-page handout on the history of Title IX and "what it means to you as a tennis player."

Capriati said she was aware of the role played by women's tennis pioneer Billie Jean King in the women's sports movement but that she had never had "an in-depth" conversation with King about the issue.

FATIGUE TAKING ITS TOLL: The enduring images of the Open's early action have been of players trying to endure.

Tommy Haas stood through a news conference, worried his weary calves might lock up if he sat. Two wheelchairs were at the ready in case Marat Safin or Nicolas Kiefer couldn't walk after their five-setter. Justin Gimelstob left a patch of sweat at midcourt by flopping to the ground after losing eight pounds in his first-round victory.

At least they were able to complete the matches. Seven men quit during the first two days, a record for the first round of a Grand Slam tournament and tying the high for an entire U.S. Open.

Among the possible causes cited by players, coaches and trainers: the humidity, the pressure of a major tournament, the nonstop nature of the ATP Tour schedule.

"It's bizarre that there have been so many" retirements, said Tim Henman, who was given smelling salts at Wimbledon last month. "I just feel that it's the ongoing wear and tear. We are in the eighth or ninth month of the season, but the season never really stops. ... It's something that probably needs to be monitored."

John McEnroe offered another idea for the problem of cramps: the use of creatine, a legal, widely available amino acid-based strength-training supplement.

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