With 4,867 points, Capriati moved 25 ahead of Martina Hingis of Switzerland, who had occupied the top spot for 73 consecutive weeks. The American became the ninth woman to be ranked No. 1 in the history of the computer rankings.
Capriati lost in the quarterfinals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix at Filderstadt, Germany on Friday. But the 25-year-old knew she had ascended to No. 1 for the first time after Hingis was forced to retire from her semifinal with American Lindsay Davenport due to an ankle injury.
The Florida resident has reached tremendous expectations and battled through various personal problems in her career to reach the top of the WTA list.
At age 14, Capriati became the youngest player to be ranked in the top 10, reach a Grand Slam semifinal at the 1990 French Open and be seeded in a Grand Slam event at the 1990 Wimbledon Championships.
However, her season-ending ranking slipped to 101 in 1998 as Capriati endured a number of well-publicized personal troubles.
But the 2001 season saw Capriati fulfill her potential, claiming the Australian and French Open titles and reaching the semifinals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
She also won the Family Circle Cup at Charleston, South Carolina in April and advanced to the finals at Oklahoma City, Miami, Berlin and Toronto.
Since the inception of the computer rankings on November 3, 1975, the No. 1 poisition only had been occupied by Americans Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Traci Austin, Monica Seles and Davenport, German Steffi Graff, Spaniard Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, and Hingis.