YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Capriati, Fernandez Left Off Olympic List

May 30, 1996|From Associated Press

Gold medalists Jennifer Capriati and Mary Joe Fernandez were eliminated from the Olympics by a computer Wednesday.

Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Monica Seles were chosen to lead the U.S. tennis team at Atlanta, but Capriati and Fernandez, who won gold medals in 1992, failed to make the squad.

The U.S. Tennis Association selected players for singles based on computer rankings of April 29. That left out Capriati, who won the women's singles at Barcelona, and Fernandez, who teamed with Gigi Fernandez to win the doubles.

The remainder of the eight-member squad includes MaliVai Washington, Richey Reneberg, Chanda Rubin, Lindsay Davenport and Gigi Fernandez. All but Reneberg and Fernandez are expected to play singles; the doubles teams will probably be Washington-Reneberg and Davenport-Fernandez.

Capriati lost her ranking when she left the WTA Tour because of drug and personal problems, and she's now No. 109. The USTA failed in its bid to get Capriati an exemption so she could defend her medal as an extra American entry.

Mary Joe Fernandez is now ranked 11th, one spot ahead of Davenport. But on April 29, Davenport was 10th and Fernandez 14th.

Gigi Fernandez was chosen because she's ranked second in the world in doubles.

Mary Joe Fernandez could still make the team if another player pulls out because of injury. Seles has been bothered by a sore shoulder much of this year.

"We're always taking a gamble with Monica," U.S. women's coach Billie Jean King said. "I hope she stays well."

Missing from the men's team will be Michael Chang and Jim Courier, who are ranked higher than Washington and Reneberg but declined to play because they want to concentrate on Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. The Olympics fall between those two Grand Slam events.

Seles, who became an American citizen in 1994, said playing in the Olympics has been a lifelong dream.

"I am just thrilled to be able to play for my country," Seles said in Paris, where she's competing in the French Open. "It is so exciting to think about being part of the Olympic Games, joining with athletes from all over the world in the Olympic village and playing tennis for the United States."

Los Angeles Times Articles