A Damir-free Dokic OK
A Damir-free Dokic OK
By FOX SPORTS
April 21 2003
FORMER Davis Cup player and respected commentator John Alexander believes Jelena Dokic can make a successful return to playing for Australia if her father Damir is not involved.
Alexander said yesterday there is no argument that Dokic's intimidating father is at fault for every drama packed moment in his daughter's career.
"I believe that Jelena now has the courage of her own convictions to make her own decisions and rid herself of her father's influence," Alexander said.
"Jelena was powerless to do anything which would have an impact on any decision her father made.
"Given Damir's past history (banned from the WTA circuit, drinking, altercations with media and police) Jelena is showing a great deal of courage.
"Its seems that Jelena is now taking matters into her own hands.
"Up until recently every decision which has been made for her has been done under the influence of her father.
"If Jelena wants to play for Australia again, it will be her decision alone this time and I think she has enough courage to play Fed Cup and under the Australian flag again which are the requirements to represent at the Athens Olympics, next year."
Alexander added that Dokic's mother (Liliana) would also be in favour of her daughter playing for Australia because he believed she too has been the victim of Damir's behaviour.
"I wouldn't be surprised to see Jelena come back and live here because she sees Australia as her home and the place she grew up for seven of her formative years," he said.
Alexander said Dokic, 20, who reached a career-high ranking of five and played off for the bronze medal for Australia at the Sydney 2000 Olympics would have been happy to remain here, had it not been for her father.
"I first saw her practise as an 11-year-old at Ryde and she was embraced by everyone for the commitment she put into her work," Alexander said.
"I feel that Jelena has always been an Australian because it's here where her friends are and where she wants to play.
"Jelena was given every assistance and expertise possible from top coaches (Lesley Bowrey, Tony Roche).
"All this help must have torn Jelena apart when her father wanted to move the family to the US."
Alexander said he did not think that Jelena, who holds a dual Australia-Yugoslav passport, was responsible for switching allegiances to play under the Yugoslav flag at tournaments after representing Australia in Hopman and Fed Cup team competitions.
"All the decisions made in the past that she was made to abide by came from Damir," he said.
"I don't think the decisions made - to leave Australia, not play for or in Australia, the conspiracy about bad draws - were not freely entered into by Jelena and all comments eminated from her father."
After moving from their Fairfield apartment two years ago to the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa Bay, Florida, the Dokic's shifted to another apartment in Belgrade last year.
That was until Jelena started a relationship with Formula One racing car driver Enrique Bernoldi who her father despised and led to the youngster packing her bags and moving to Monaco.