There are a lot of “what ifs” on Jelena Dokic’s mind, even now, 15 years removed from her peak as a tennis player.
4 in the world, wonders what her life might look like if her father Damir, a highly-controversial and erratic figure who was a one-man tennis news cycle during the late 1990s and early 2000s, had not allegedly subjected her to years of horrific abuse.
Yet those struggles were just a prelude to how Dokic’s life evolved after her tennis talent was discovered and her father decided she was to become a champion in the mold of Monica Seles.
After the Dokics moved to Australia and Jelena began training with elite coaches, she says the physical abuse started with slaps to the face whenever her father felt practice sessions had not been productive enough.
At Wimbledon the following year, he smashed a reporter’s cell phone and refused to let Dokic return to their hotel after she lost her semifinal.
Open, Damir Dokic abused staff and officials after becoming incensed by the price of food in the players’ cafeteria.
Jelena Dokic reached the Wimbledon semifinals and was Jelena Dokic reached the Wimbledon semifinals and was ranked as high as No.
At different points she attempted to reconcile with Damir Dokic, even after he was jailed for a year for threatening to blow up the Australian ambassador to Serbia with a hand grenade in 2009.
Apart from a remarkable run to the quarterfinals of the 2009 Australian Open, Dokic did not advance past the second round of a Grand Slam after 2003.