Sports

Jelena Dokic reveals years of abuse suffered at hands of father

Jelena Dokic reveals years of abuse suffered at hands of father

As well as the physical abuse, Damir Dokic allegedly subjected his teenage daughter to constant verbal abuse, like calling her a "slut" and a "whore". (Fox Sports) Australia's Jelena Dokic walks through Wimbledon with her father, Damir, on June 22, 1999, after defeating Martina Hingis in their Women's Singles, first round match. She said her father also frequently directed vile insults toward her.

At the time, Jelena Dokic was playing at her peak, the WTA had a rule banning disruptive family members or coaches from attending tournaments.

The former world no.4 believes if she could turn back the clock and had a different pathway in professional tennis, there is no doubt she could have been one of the world's best on a consistent basis.

She said it was nearly too much to deal with - going from "poverty, to racism, to bullying".

Jelena Dokic was a teen prodigy when the alleged abuse was taking place. As Australia "reacted with shock" to her "horrifying allegations", the sport's governing body said that "people had lodged police complaints - but without cooperation from those involved, they could not be fully investigated". That revelation sparked a furious reaction from Damir, who threatened to blow up the auto of Australia's ambassador to Serbia.

The Sunday Telegraph said Damir Dokic, who now lives in Serbia, did not respond to attempts to contact him for a response.

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He was evicted from Wimbledon, the US Open and the Australian Open for various offences, including smashing a journalist's phone and abusing staff over fish prices.

But Dokic had cut herself loose, and won her first WTA title in eight years with a 2011 victory in Kuala Lumpur.

The racial abuse was just the beginning of a painful personal career for Dokic, who suffered years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her domineering father. "He beat me really badly", she said. She claims she was punched, whipped and even spat on as punishment by her father Damir.

Dokic said she doesn't have much of a relationship with her father now but she has reached out to him. She had come full circle, and was the toast of Australia again a decade after her breakthrough Wimbledon win. But in 2009, she made a surprising run to the Australian Open quarterfinals as a wild-card entry and said she'd been estranged from her father for several years.

"Not just the physical pain but the emotional [pain], that was the one what hurt me the most ... when you are 11, 12 years old and hear all those nasty things ... that was more hard for me".

Dokic would reach the quarter-finals, but her night of nights came in the fourth round, where she defied injury, exhaustion and conventional tennis wisdom to beat 29th seed Alisa Kleybanova in a thrilling three-setter.


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