Nice [Long] Article: Jelena Dokic: The Homecoming Queen -
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old Dec 5th, 2005, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
Erika_Angel's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Seychelles
Posts: 7,952
Nice [Long] Article: Jelena Dokic: The Homecoming Queen

The Homecoming Queen
By Linda Pearce
December 6, 2005

JUST over two months ago, Australian Open chief executive Paul McNamee was sitting in his office at Melbourne Park when he was told he had a telephone call. Jelena Dokic was on the line from Europe. "Really?" was his initial response, for the contact was unexpected, if not certainly not unwelcome.

McNamee had every right to be wary, not merely surprised, for he had been through all this before. Two years earlier, Dokic's return to Australia had been negotiated through her US agent, down to the coaching assistance requested as part of Tennis Australia's dutiful smoothing of her re-entry.

Back then, circumstances were very different. Dokic was a top-20 player with a stable of sponsors and considerable bargaining power. What she ultimately did not have was a stomach for the hostile reception she feared she would receive in the country that had been her home from 1994 until the acrimonious departure insisted upon by her father, Damir, seven years later.

"She was too scared. She just couldn't face it," McNamee said yesterday of the aborted 2003 homecoming. Dokic, too, admits she was "a little bit afraid" of how she would be treated, and what would be made of the draw-rigging allegations and generally preposterous behaviour of her tyrannical father.

Fast forward two years. The call Dokic made to McNamee in October was a simple request to come back. No agents involved; no conditions imposed.

"She just said, 'I want to come back and put Australia next to my name, and what do you reckon, how can we do it?' " McNamee recalled yesterday. "I said, 'Well, I know how hard it is for you to make this phone call, but we stand as we always have: the door's always been open, and we'll do what we can to help.'

"But it was kind of a gutsy call for her to make. When she left here, it was fierce, just fierce, and I can understand why she was very nervous coming back here, yeah."

Dokic, 22, flew into Tullamarine from Vienna on Saturday, accompanied by her boyfriend, Tino Bikic, a nervous smile and a world ranking that has sunk to 349th.

The sponsors are gone and she is between coaches. Other than a Canberra wildcard next month and an invitation to attend the annual Australian Open training camp, starting today, Dokic has asked for nothing, and Tennis Australia has made no promises.

At the airport, she declined an offer to be spirited away through a private exit, choosing to face the media, to explain and apologise, in the arrivals hall. The women's magazines and so-called current affairs shows have been relentless in their pursuit of "exclusive" interviews in the past week, but Dokic has been adamant that she will say what she has to say to everyone.

Yesterday, while Bikic the Croatian son of her former coach, Borno Bikic remained inside, she negotiated a carefully managed appearance at Melbourne Park, speaking on an outside court until every question had been answered and then hitting with Victorian Lauren Breadmore in what was Dokic's first touch of Rebound Ace in almost five years.

Again, without her now-estranged father pulling the strings, Dokic managed to say all the right things. She had spent her first day eating Tim Tams. "I missed that, I missed a lot of things." She was "even more glad now" to be back, and thankful for the support she had already received. She is here to make up for what went on before.

"I was 16 at the time," she said. "Even now at 22, I don't know much about life a little bit more than then, but that's why I came back. I want the people to understand what happened and hopefully I will get that message across. I felt Australian then, I still do, and I want to play for Australia again, and I think I deserve that.

"I really regret the way that I left. Hopefully, they can understand me and what happened, and that I'm making this decision now, I'm looking forward, not going back to what happened, and hopefully they can start to love me again like they did before."

Dokic said she had delayed her return because the hysteria of her departure she announced on the eve of the Open that she would play for Serbia and Montenegro, the day after her father told The Age that the draw again had been rigged against her was still too fresh.

"I left in quite a bad way and I just wasn't sure when to come back," she said. "I am expecting people that will not agree with me and understand my situation, but that is OK, I'm here to earn the respect again from players, tennis-wise, and from the people as well.

"It was not my decision at the time, and I want the people to understand that this is my decision now and I would like to look forward.

"I would really like to make up for that, play for Australia, be Australian and get my career back on track."

A career that, right now, is floundering. A low ranking born of injuries, poor form and her annual Australian circuit boycott sent her back to the Challenger circuit midyear as her ranking went into freefall. No one doubts that the former Wimbledon semi-finalist can still hit the ball, and her work ethic and ambition were once legendary, but has the game passed her by?

"I don't think it has," says her former coach and mentor Lesley Bowrey, who was a roommate and second mother to Dokic during her late-teenage years and remains fondly supportive. Bowrey predicts a return to the top 10 "if Jelena gets her head right and gets the right people around her".

That, obviously, does not include Damir, who is back in Belgrade hailing the end of Jelena's career. Or so he told reporters, for father and daughter have not spoken for some time.

"I don't talk to him at all," Dokic said. "We have very different views on pretty much everything in life, and that includes tennis, and that includes this decision to come back He's my father, he's family, but we don't agree on those things, and that includes my career, so when it's that way you just can't work with that kind of person."

Dokic remains officially based in Monte Carlo, but has rented an apartment in Melbourne for the summer and will then consider her options. She is in occasional contact with her mother, Liliana, and brother, Savo, but apparently does not fear for their wellbeing. "Obviously, they made their choice as well, and I made mine."

It is a choice that is both brave, in its way, and smacking a little of desperation. Australia was the foundation for Dokic's success and appealed as a logical next stop on her troubled journey, but, realistically, her options were few.

"I think all the pressure that I had on me I dealt with at the time, and then later, it took its toll," she admits.

"The last two years I've been out, and also I did so much early on, so maybe I needed that break, and I'm really motivated again. It's a lot harder to come back than to come up. But if I can do it, I think I'll be a stronger person and a player."

Indeed, the former world No. 4 claims to have been inspired by the comeback efforts of Mary Pierce, another to have escaped from a dysfunctional home and abusive father and found personal peace and a professional second wind. So far, the signs are good. Dokic appears to insiders to be more relaxed and carefree, less tense and anxious than in the past.

McNamee warns that on-court expectations should reflect the distance she has fallen, but admits she is in slightly better physical shape than he had expected after her long lay-off. He hopes she will be received with support and understanding by the Australian public, but knows that everyone will make their own decision.

Which is, indeed, precisely what Dokic has done. Having made the momentous move away from her father, more than two years of agonising have ended with her return to the country she acknowledges she should never have left.

Except that, of course, it will not end there, for there are surely a few more twists still to come. The consensus among her former coaches Bowrey and Craig Miller is that, with Damir out of the picture, her future is bright; what is beyond dispute is that this has been a long and troubling human drama, with Jelena Dokic its reluctant star.

"I will right wrongs & triumph over evil ... & that means you!"

0099 ... Eternal follower of the Golden Girl
WTAWorld Survivor
~ Survivor Cambodia - The Ta Prohm Ruins ~
Jan-Apr 06

~ Survivor Aitutaki - The Blue Lagoon ~
Nov 06-Mar 07

Last edited by Erika_Angel; Dec 5th, 2005 at 02:26 PM.
Erika_Angel is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old Dec 5th, 2005, 02:53 PM
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 4,007
"Tim Tams" ?!? wtf...
vutt is offline  
post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old Dec 5th, 2005, 02:55 PM
Team WTAworld
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 4,007
ok about timtams:

very sporty
vutt is offline  
post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old Dec 5th, 2005, 08:17 PM
Team WTAworld
Mr. Try Too Hard
King Aaron's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Maleisi
Posts: 52,166
Thanks for posting.
King Aaron is offline  
post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old Dec 5th, 2005, 09:50 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Neuchtel
Posts: 11,064
everybody loves tims tams!! i wouldn't recommend she eat too many though
switz is offline  
post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old Dec 5th, 2005, 09:57 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Gdask
Posts: 28,144
I hope she will find coach
Wojtek is offline  
post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old Dec 6th, 2005, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
Senior Member
Erika_Angel's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Seychelles
Posts: 7,952
Originally Posted by Wojtek
I hope she will find coach
I hope so too, although I'm sure she will get some help from the Aussie coaches and I would be suprised if one of them doesn't end up as Jelena's coach (if her return is successful)

Found another pic aswell:

"I will right wrongs & triumph over evil ... & that means you!"

0099 ... Eternal follower of the Golden Girl
WTAWorld Survivor
~ Survivor Cambodia - The Ta Prohm Ruins ~
Jan-Apr 06

~ Survivor Aitutaki - The Blue Lagoon ~
Nov 06-Mar 07
Erika_Angel is offline  
post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old Dec 6th, 2005, 12:19 AM
Senior Member
Philip's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Great Britain
Posts: 8,071
Cant wait to see if this pays off!


---J|@ K---
~ Monica Seles || Patty Schnyder || Anna Kournikova || Tatiana Golovin || Jelena Jankovic || Elena Baltacha || Anne Keothavong ~
Welcome back to the TOP 100 Jelena!
Always in our hearts.... Arantxa Sanchez Vicario!.... 110 titles.... no1 in singles and doubles.... a true legend!
Philip is offline  
post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old Dec 6th, 2005, 01:01 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 12,924
Where did you guys find all these pics?
Dominic is offline  
post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old Dec 6th, 2005, 02:48 AM
Senior Member
KimC&MariaSNo1's's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Wherever Life Takes Me
Posts: 10,352
great news looks like shes so much mature and happy now
KimC&MariaSNo1's is offline  
post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old Dec 6th, 2005, 03:27 AM
Senior Member
Derek.'s Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Dublin
Posts: 25,049
Derek. is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome