Another ambulance ride
Did Jennifer Capriati try an Erica Blasberg? Former tennis prodigy's overdoseleaves plenty of questions
Erica Blasberg always reminded me a little of Jennifer Capriati. Having interviewed both Blasberg and Capriati in their respective playing primes nearly a decade apart, I couldn't help but root for either one no matter how objective I strived to be.
There were moments that Blasberg and Capriati — as gregarious and smiley as they could be — both came across as a little fragile, a little unsure of themselves despite their obvious talent and good looks. It could be startling to see these instances come up and they'd leave you wondering how someone so seemingly far ahead of the game could be so conflicted. Both Blasberg and Capriati were raised by demanding sports dads. Both achieved great early success. And both found some unexpected failure.
And now, Jennifer Capriati has joined Blasberg in taking an ambulance ride. At least, Capriati's was to the hospital rather than the morgue.
The 34-year-old Capriati was rushed to a South Florida hospital Sunday after a prescription drug overdose — a story first broken by TMZ. Capriati spokesperson Lacey Wickline told the Associated Press that it was "an accidental overdose." But those words are hardly going to stop the questions.
Just a few years ago, former Knicks general manager/NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas was rushed to the hospital after an overdose of sleeping pills, only to later claim that it was really his daughter who took the pills (the police quickly shot this down publicly, noting that they know the difference between a 47-year-old man and a teenage girl).
Like Thomas, Capriati is expected to make a full recovery, according to her spokesperson.
Coming soon after the still-unruled-on death of Blasberg, the 25-year-old golfer who was found unresponsive in her own bed in Las Vegas, Capriati's overdose is sure to refuel the debate over how much is too soon for young girls when it comes to sports.
Blasberg's father originally said that his daughter's death appeared to be a suicide — and Blasberg's own diary entries reveal a young woman who was struggling to cope with life and failing to meet the expectations that her early golf success brought. The Las Vegas police are not looking into any potential suspects and there's been no foul play investigation. They did serve a search warrant for prescription medicines, however.
For her part, Capriati appeared to be past her struggles. After turning pro at age 13 (yes, 13), a run of early success was followed by a marijuana possession charge and those infamous photos of Capriarti being found haggard-looking at a seedy hotel in 1994. She made a remarkable career comeback, though, and won three majors from 2001 to 2002. Since retiring from tennis, the very-private Capriati has been largely absent from the public eye.
Until now — when a drug overdose and more questions bring her screeching back into the headlines.
You can't help but hope it really was an accident. Everyone wanted to believe that Jennifer Capriati was going to be alright after all. No matter how many sad sports stories say otherwise.