Capriati still packs a punch, says ex

Ivan Brannan, who dated Capriati from May 2011 to February 2012, told police that she began harassing and stalking him shortly after the couple broke up. Photo / AP
Ivan Brannan, who dated Capriati from May 2011 to February 2012, told police that she began harassing and stalking him shortly after the couple broke up. Photo / AP

Former tennis World No 1 Jennifer Capriati is facing battery charges and possible arrest after being accused of stalking and punching an ex-boyfriend on Valentine's Day.

Capriati, a three-time Grand Slam champion who won 14 titles and earned gold at the 1992 Olympics, had an altercation with Ivan Brannan at the Oxygen Health & Wellness gym in North Palm Beach, Florida, on February 14, the local police department said.

While Brannan was working out Capriati, 36, "started screaming" at him before punching him "with a closed fist four times in the chest", a police report said.

A yoga instructor then stopped the former tennis pro from continuing to punch Brannan and the 28-year-old managed to lock himself in the men's locker room and call 911.

Brannan, a former Florida State University golfer, had red marks on his chest from the incident, according to the police report.

Brannan, who dated Capriati from May 2011 to February 2012, told police that she began harassing and stalking him shortly after the couple broke up. He also later brought officers documentation of seven other altercations with the former tennis pro.

The North Palm Beach Police Department in Florida subsequently requested an arrest warrant for Capriati, though it has not yet been issued by the court, according to a spokeswoman.

A publicist for Capriati issued a statement on Saturday stressing that the case "has not yet been assigned in Palm Beach County and has not been reviewed".

"The current facts being circulated by Mr Brannan are an over-exaggeration and the police report is one-sided in Mr Brannan's favour since they failed to get Ms Capriati's side of the story," Natalie Mikolich said in a statement cited by US media.

Capriati also took to Twitter to defend herself.

"I pushed a man that was verbally assaulting me away from me. This man has been tormenting and abusing me for so long. The truth will prevail," she wrote.

Capriati was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame last year.

But her career was overshadowed by personal problems, including incidents of shoplifting and drugs, and she struggled with weight problems.

She was charged with cannabis possession in 1994 and spent time in a drug rehabilitation clinic before struggling to return to the game.

In 2010, she survived a suspected suicide attempt following a prescription drug overdose.

Capriati won the 2001 and 2002 Australian Open titles and the 2001 French Open. In her second Australian triumph, she rallied from 6-4, 4-0 down to defeat Martina Hingis in the final, saving four match points.

-AFP

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