MIAMI: 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.
While filling out an affidavit, "his hands were physically shaking," it added.
"It was very apparent that he was in fear of physical harm."
Brannan, who dated Capriati from May 2011 to February 2012, told police that Capriati 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, a spokeswoman told AFP on Sunday.
A publicist for Capriati issued a statement on Friday 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 favor 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 herself to defend her behavior.
"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.
And on Sunday, she added: "These lies and turmoil are only happening because of this man!Look at what he has done to the MOTHER of his own son not just me!!"
Brannan's ex-fiancee, cooking show contestant Christine Corley, then wrote back: "He is doing the same thing to you as he did to me!!" and "I feel your pain!"
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 reached the finals in two of her first three WTA events as a rookie in 1990 and won her first tour title at Puerto Rico. Two years later, she defeated Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in the Barcelona Olympic women's final.
After a hiatus during most of the span between 1994 and 1998, Capriati staged a successful comeback starting in 1999. She helped lead the US Fed Cup team to the title in 2000 and became World No. 1 in October 2001, staying on top for 18 weeks.
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.
Capriati retired for good in 2004 with a 430-176 record and 14 career singles crowns.-AFP