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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Capriati's Father Regrets Mistakes

MILAN, Italy -- The father of Jennifer Capriati has acknowledged that he made mistakes in raising the troubled teenage tennis star. Capriati, who turned pro just before her 14th birthday, left the tour last year after losing in the first round of the U.S. Open. Now 18, she was arrested May 16 on marijuana possession charges and is undergoing treatment at a rehabilitation clinic in Miami. "I put too much pressure on her," Stefano Capriati was quoted as saying Thursday in an interview in Milan with the Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I should have given her more room. "Instead, I cooked for her and lived with her 24 hours a day. Sometimes she would say, 'I don't want to practice this week.' But I would insist that she prepare for the next tournament. "When she was 15, I shouldn't have made her play all those exhibitions, but I didn't know how good she was and wanted to see how she did against stronger players. Maybe I made a mistake. And then I wouldn't let her practice other sports like skiing and parachuting." Stefano Capriati blamed his daughter's current troubles on outside factors. "Tennis has nothing to do with it," he was quoted as saying. "It's the friends, the acquaintances, the fact that Jennifer wanted to be a normal kid and didn't know when to say no." He said his daughter, 18, would be released from the treatment center in Miami next Thursday. She reportedly also underwent treatment in February. "She's getting better," Stefano Capriati was quoted as saying. "She entered the clinic by her own choice. She'll get out on the 16th. Once she gets out, she'll rejoin the family and we will leave Saddlebrook and Florida forever. Maybe we'll move to Italy." Capriati burst onto the tennis scene as a 13-year-old sensation and rose to prominence with a string of victories on the women's tennis tour that culminated in a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. She has yet to set a date for her return to the tour but her father, an Italian who immigrated to the United States, vowed she would be back. Stefano Capriati said he expects his daughter "will return to play tennis again and will be stronger than before." He regretted that she saw him "more as a manager and coach than a father. "But one day she will realize, if she hasn't already, that I did everything for her." Stefano Capriati denied that the two were estranged. "My daughter adores me," he was quoted as saying. "She went through a period of rejecting the family. That's normal for anybody growing up." Stefano Capriati is in Milan with his son, Steven, 14, who is scheduled to play in a junior tournament there starting next Monday. He said he would do things differently with his son. "I've learned my lesson," he was quoted as saying. "I try to convince him of things, but I don't force him to do anything. And if he wants to try snowboarding, jet skiing or whatever, he can go ahead." (AP, Reuters)