Dokic could be barred from Olympics, sport's chiefs warns
By Ossian Shine
LONDON, June 25 (Reuters) - Jelena Dokic will be barred from competing at next year's Olympics unless she ends her feud with Australian tennis officials and plays Fed Cup for them next month, the International Tennis Federation said on Wednesday.
The unsettled 20-year-old represented Australia at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney and says it is her most memorable experience.
But unless she swallows her pride and returns to represent the country she abandoned two years ago, her Olympic experience will remain a thing of the past.
"According to the rules, in order to play in the Olympic Games, a player needs to have made herself available to play Fed Cup for her country two of the preceding four years," an ITF spokesman said on Wednesday.
"For the next Olympics, one of those years would have to be 2003 or 2004."
Dokic did not play in 2002 so, in order to qualify, she must play Fed Cup for Australia this year and next.
Dokic, who played in the Australian Fed Cup and Olympic teams for three years, reverted to her original Yugoslav nationality in 2001 after her father, Damir, had claimed the 2000 Australian Open draw had been rigged against his daughter.
Dokic has not played Fed Cup for the Yugoslav team yet and they have no more fixture this year. If she opts to represent Yugoslavia, therefore, she will automatically be ruled out of a place at the Athens Olympics.
Her only chance of competing is to return to Australia.
She must play for them in a home tie against Colombia next month to keep her Olympic dreams alive.
Dokic, however, is under the impression she need not turn out for Australia and has no intention of making herself available in July.
"I have better things to think about," she said at Wimbledon, where she is in the second round of the women's singles.
"Olympics and Fed Cup is a long way away. I mean I am not in a situation to play Fed Cup first of all. It's always in the middle of tournaments. It's not ideal for me to travel and play ... I play enough tournaments as it is.
"I am definitely not planning on playing Fed Cup, it would be just too much.
"The Olympics, they are a year-and-a-half away. I will think about the Olympics when it comes to that.
"I think the rules have changed. I can make my mind up at the last minute."
The Dokic family moved to Sydney from Belgrade in 1994 and Jelena quickly attracted interest from senior Australian tennis coaches because of her talent.
But the family has endured a rocky relationship with the Australian public because of Damir's repeated run-ins with authorities and quit for Yugoslavia in 2001.
06/25/03 12:42 ET
"I love the game, I love the thrill, I love the "Go Venus`."
"It takes a lot of work to get to this level, so while I can play I'm going to play."
Venus Ebone Starr Williams