Yugoslavia's Jelena Dokic has just finished playing in hr 29th tournament of 2002, an even more amazing stat when you consider she started playing this year in late January.
In a year that was filled with some good victories, Dokic has also suffered some abysmal results, losing earlier than expected on several occasions even suffering a little slump after the US Open.
However it seems that the 19 year old born in Osijek, Croatia has finally learnt her lesson. In a year that's seen her off-court play suffer a little, Dokic has seemingly removed herself from her troublemaking father and in the process found herself a boyfriend. The boyfriend comes in the form of Brazilian F1 driver, Enrique Bernoldi who dated Barbara Schett before Dokic, showing a keen interest in tennis players. However despite the fact that most young women should be wary of playboys like Bernoldi, it seems that the Brazilian has been good for the Yugoslav, encouraging her to distance herself from her mad-dad Damir and to take control of her life. Calling him a 'kindred spirit' Dokic says that he's been good for her.
"We found a way to talk to each other right away," she says. "He has been very good for my mind."
However, if Dokic has tried to distance herself from controversy, she didn't do too well at the US Open where she seemingly supported a Serbian Ultra Nationalist candidate in the upcoming elections. Rumors were ripe that it was the work of her father Damir and while Jelena doesn't confrim these rumors, she doesn't deny them either, stating
"I am not interested in politics. I am not political. I am only a tennis player."
So it seems that Dokic has started to get her life together off the court however it was her on-court activities that gained a lot of attentions throughout the course of the year. Accused of over-playing, Dokic has finally realised that she can't possibly keep going on like this and has constantly stated that she will cut her schedule next year.
After beating Russia's Anastasia Myskina in straight sets on Thursday, Dokic echoed that she would be cutting down her schedule next year.
'No. I did it the last two years. Mentally I'm really feeling it much more than physically. It's hard to fight out there when you play so many matches and tournaments.
The last five or six tournaments, it's hard because your mind is not on the court so much, and definitely maybe only 20, 21 tournaments next year. I'll cut down a lot.'
So, she seems to have that in check. Dokic however will not be going back to the Australian Open. She did that this year and came back in Tokyo, losing to Anne Kremer in straight sets in a match which she described as 'rusty'. Dokic didn't pick up a racquet over last year's break however she's learnt from that and is determined to work hard over the upcoming season.
'I have to sort out my serve and my strength over the break. I'm really looking to try and come to the net but my serve is my priority'
And to ensure she doesn't miss out on too much match practise, Dokic has signed herself to play in the Collins Cup and an exhibiton against Monica Seles in Yugoslavia to ensure that she gets some matchplay for the start of next season.
In fact, Dokic is also seemingly closer to getting a coach that ever before, spending the week before the Home Depot Championships preparing with Heinz Gunthardt, the former coach of Steffi Graf.
With a reduced schedule and the hunger to succeed, Dokic sees herself as a regular top 5 player next year and with determination like hers, you wouldn't want to doubt her.