Rick Macci, who has also coached Jennifer Capriati along with Serena and Venus Williams in the past, feels Capriati’s portrayal was incomplete in the popular feature film King Richard, which tells the inspirational story of the Williams sisters and their father Richard Williams. Macci’s contribution in coaching the sisters to the top of the pro tennis circuit has also been highlighted in the 2021 movie.
Macci opined that while Capriati was portrayed as a young upcoming superstar in American tennis, her comeback story should have also seen the light of day in the script of King Richard.
Capriati made an incredible early impact on the professional tennis circuit, becoming the youngest Top-10 entrant in history at the age of 14. After a stellar few seasons to start her career, during which she also won the 1992 Olympic gold medal, Capriati suffered a drop in form and confidence that lasted for a few years. However, she then made a strong comeback, becoming the world No. 1 for the first time back in 2001, while also winning three Grand Slam titles in the process.
Macci lamented Jennifer Capriati’s ‘one-dimensional portrayal’ in King Richard and felt that, even though the movie was about the lives of the Williams sisters, Capriati’s comeback would have made for a great inspirational tale.
“I love Jennifer. Even with the movie King Richard, I wished they would have put in the credits her comeback, because how she was portrayed was one way,” Rick Macci said on an episode of The Functional Tennis Podcast.
The 68-year-old went on to state that Capriati showed her greatness with the heights she scaled during the comeback phase.
“They should have told the other story, the backstory, because to be knocked out and go down, when you’ve disappeared and you come back and become No. 1, and you’re just ploughing through (Lindsay) Davenport, (Martina) Hingis, and (Monica) Seles…that’s how great Jennifer Capriati was,” Macci added.
“Talk about Jennifer Capriati’s comeback, forget Rocky Balboa” – Rick Macci on Capriati’s incredible comeback story
Rick Macci suggested that Jennifer Capriati’s career in itself is a movie-worthy story and that her comeback is even greater than the famous tale of ‘Rocky Balboa.’ He further reflected on his former star student’s comeback, stressing that she rose from outside the Top-160 in the WTA rankings to the highest spot in the rankings and not even the Top-20 or 30, when most people had written her off.
In fact, Capriati had fallen outside the Top-200 in early 1998, before she went on a strong run.
“Talk about the comeback. Forget Rocky Balboa, you want to talk about a movie?” Macci expressed. “She disappears, gets to like No. 160, doesn’t do anything for a couple of years, in and out.”
“(She returns) All the way back, not to No. 30, not to No. 20, to number one in the world, three Grand Slams, Olympic gold in the summer, and a huge contract with Fila, when everybody wrote her off,” he added.
Capriati won her maiden Grand Slam title at the 2001 Australian Open before also winning the French Open later that season. In October 2001, she became the world No. 1 for the first time in her career. The American star won her third and final Major at the 2002 Australian Open.