Jennifer Capriati not favorite, says Navratilova

LONDON, Reuters

Jennifer Capriati put on a “terrible performance” in Wimbledon’s third round and is not the favourite to win the women’s title, former champion Martina Navratilova said on Saturday.

The Williams sisters and fellow American Lindsay Davenport all looked to have a stronger chance of winning, Navratilova said.

“I do think Jennifer can win Wimbledon but she’s not my favorite,” Navratilova told The Guardian newspaper.

“I think Serena Williams is looking a lot better than anybody right now. She was my pick from a long time ago — and no-one’s really talked about her, which I think she likes.

“I would also put Lindsay Davenport ahead of Jennifer at the moment and of course Venus (Williams) can’t be discounted.”

Fourth seed Capriati is chasing the third leg of the Grand Slam after wins at the Australian and French Open tournaments this year.

But she looked vulnerable in Friday’s 6-4 6-4 victory over diminutive Russian Tatiana Panova and had to fight back from 4-1 down in the second set.

“Jennifer discovered there is still a bit to work on,” said Navratilova, who won the Wimbledon singles title a record nine times. “It was a terrible performance.

“For a set and a half she wasn’t on her game. There were something like 27 unforced errors by the middle of the second set and only five or six winners, which is awful by her standards.”

The 44-year-old Navratilova, still playing in the Wimbledon women’s doubles with Spaniard Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and in the mixed with Belarussian Max Mirnyi, said she was impressed by the power of modern women players.

“They are so tall and powerful that I’m looking up to them in the locker room,” the American said. “They have the shoulders of linebackers and though I used to look imposing against the other players I’m now the pipsqueak in there.

“It shows the women’s game is in great shape right now. It’s never been better.”