Dokic on track to rekindle career
JELENA Dokic will return to Melbourne Park today for the first time since a troubled exit four years ago.
Now ranked 349th in the world, Dokic will practise at the Australian Open site with South Australian teenager Olivia Lukaszewicz.
Another former player planning to make an Open return is Martina Hingis, who yesterday outlined an ambitious assault on the sport's riches.
Dokic arrived in Australia from Croatia on Saturday for the first time since her controversial departure ordered by her father and coach Damir in January 2001.
The Wimbledon semi-finalist and former world No. 4 is determined to forge a fresh start in her adopted country, despite resistance from a small pocket of players and spectators.
"I was a little bit nervous coming here," Dokic said on her arrival. "But I'm even happier with my decision now. It will be tough. Not everyone will agree with my decision."
Dokic, 22, will take part in the Australian Open training camp from Wednesday.
The baseliner, who once thrashed Hingis in the first round at Wimbledon, plans to contest the training camp's wildcard playoff next week.
If she fails to land an Open wildcard, Dokic would need organisers to issue her with a separate wildcard.
Her first tournament next year is in Auckland (January 1-7), followed by the Canberra International (January 6-13).
The right-hander will use Melbourne as her base as she tries to resurrect a sagging career. She no longer has contact with her notorious father, having spent much of the past year living in Zagreb.
Damir Dokic believes his daughter's move back to Australian representation is positive but nevertheless predicts her career is effectively over.
Australian tennis officials believe otherwise.
Dokic, who has represented Australia and Serbia and Montenegro in Fed Cup, is free to play under the Australian flag at individual tournaments. But because she played for Serbia and Montenegro in Greece last year, she faces a two-year Fed Cup qualifying period.