View Full Version : Dokic: Once you've lost your family, you've pretty much lost everything

Oct 23rd, 2008, 02:47 AM
I thought this was a particularly insightful interview with Jelena that people who don't frequent her forum might want to read. Credit to ChrisDi and Radekleroad for finding and posting the article.


Dokic quietly begins career climb-back
LINZ, Austria, Oct 22 (Reuters)
By Barry Wood

Jelena Dokic was once the wondergirl of tennis, making headlines in 1999 when as a qualifier she humbled number one seed Martina Hingis in the first round at Wimbledon.

A Wimbledon quarter-final that year was followed by a semi-final the next, and in 2002 she was ranked number four in the world.

But she had baggage, a father whose erratic and threatening behaviour led to him being banned from the tour.

It was no secret to tennis insiders that his overbearing personality was directed as much against his daughter as it was against tour officials and others.

The WTA tour did what it could to protect her but eventually Dokic felt she had no choice but to flee from her family, a traumatic experience that led to a career collapse.

"I was on my own, and I was learning for two or three years what to do, where to go and who I could rely on," she told Reuters in Austria, where she lost in the qualifying rounds for the Linz Open.

"Once you feel that you've lost your family you've pretty much lost everything. You can lose a match, you can lose a friend, but your family always stays with you. It took a long time to deal with and to realise exactly what I have, which was just myself."

Years later, she still cannot speak about her father, referring to him as 'somebody else'. But after floundering in the tennis wilderness, there are signs that the 25-year-old can finally regain her place in the sport.

This year she has won an impressive 35 of 45 matches. Most of those victories have come at low-level events but as a result her ranking has risen from zero to 187.

"Yes, it's been good," said Dokic, who was born in Serbia but now represents Australia.

"I've won a couple of tournaments. I've won a lot of matches this year and gone a couple of steps forward, which is the main thing.

"I just need to continue working hard and playing as many matches as I can get and continue to be there when things don't go well."

She has been inspired by what Andre Agassi and Jennifer Capriati achieved, doing the hard yards to come back from obscurity.

It has not been easy but she has stuck to the task, banishing her memories of competing on a packed Centre Court at Wimbledon as she plays in empty arenas in no-name tournaments.

"I feel like I am starting from zero," she said. "You lose everything that you had before. The only thing you have to go on is experience. You lose the confidence and the match play and everything, so you really are starting from zero.

"It's something that will take time but I think I'm getting there slowly. It's been a lot better this year and I think next year will hopefully be even better. I'm slowly getting into that rhythm again and I think next year should be big for me."

The tour has moved on, the standards are higher than when she rose to the top but Dokic feels she can still make an impact.

"I've practised with a couple of girls from the top 10, top 20. There's work to do but it's encouraging, and I feel I have the type of game that's very aggressive and that can be in the top 20 again. I think that's a realistic goal," she said.

"It will not be easy for sure, but I don't think it's something I cannot achieve."

Oct 23rd, 2008, 02:54 AM
Jelena :hug:

Oct 23rd, 2008, 03:21 AM
Dokic... just remembering when she was winning good tournaments and beating a lot of good players, top 20 is where you belong

Mateo Mathieu
Oct 23rd, 2008, 03:24 AM
Jelena :) I hope she can reach the Top 20 again.

Oct 23rd, 2008, 03:30 AM
Great she's practising with the top 20.

In order to acheive that goal, she needs to play WTA full time. Not five 25Ks in a row and then nothing for months.

Good luck!

Oct 23rd, 2008, 04:26 AM
Well at least she's giving it her all, that's all she can ask herself at the moment.

Top 20 is not impossible for her, but it's uncertain.

Oct 23rd, 2008, 04:34 AM
Jelena :) :D

Oct 23rd, 2008, 04:49 AM
:hug: Good luck Jelly :kiss:

Oct 23rd, 2008, 04:57 AM
nice article, thanks :)

Oct 23rd, 2008, 05:02 AM
I hope she is doing well in 2009 ;)

Oct 23rd, 2008, 05:13 AM
I'm happy to read this article. Keep fighting, Jelena :kiss:

Oct 23rd, 2008, 05:20 AM
Awwww Goodluck Jelena :D :hug:

Oct 23rd, 2008, 07:08 AM
That quote really makes me feel for her. It must be awful to be so young and have to go through what she did.

Oct 23rd, 2008, 07:12 AM
Jelena :)

Oct 23rd, 2008, 07:22 AM
Awww Jelena, no matter what she will always be my favourite player, even since I saw her play for the first time when she was 13 :)....

its good she is setting such high standards for herself i.e top 20, she needs to be positive and work her arse off next year playing WTA week in, week out to even get in top 100

good luck :D

Oct 23rd, 2008, 07:37 AM
I love her and her atypical grunts, face when she grunts, and her get right back to business personality.

Oct 23rd, 2008, 09:18 AM
:hug: It almost brings me to tears thinking about she must have felt when it all came about, losing her family, and then losing the ability to succeed in the sport she loves. Must have really hurt her, hopefully she gets atleast one of these things back. :)

Good luck for Ismaning and your 2009 comeback, Jelena.

Oct 23rd, 2008, 09:19 AM
Good luck next year Jelena :kiss:

Oct 23rd, 2008, 10:45 AM
Nice article! Thanks! :D

Oct 23rd, 2008, 10:53 AM
Thanks. :) I really think she can do it. She seems really realistic but still quietly confident in her ability. I hope 2008 was just the introduction and she takes it to a new level next year.

Oct 23rd, 2008, 11:09 AM
I wish her all the best :)

Go Jelena

Oct 23rd, 2008, 11:09 AM
I was never a fan of Jelena, but I really admire her courage and persistance. It takes a lot for a young girl to break away from her family, particularly if the father is unstable and threatening, and I can only imagine how disheartening the past couple of years have been for her trying to get her form back. But she has really stuck to the task. I really wish her the best and that the results she has been working so hard for come to her.

Oct 23rd, 2008, 03:26 PM
I hope she really does mange to make it to the top again.

Oct 23rd, 2008, 04:14 PM
She's top 20 material, no doubt about it.

Oct 23rd, 2008, 05:09 PM
aww, what a sad read. good luck in the future, hang in there.

Oct 23rd, 2008, 05:38 PM
good luck Jelena! You are SO talented!

Oct 23rd, 2008, 07:57 PM
I would really love to see her make a big comeback. I was young when she was at the height of her career, but I remember her a little. It's such a shame what has happened to her, but it's also so inspiring to hear her perseverance and that she's giving the sport another go.

Best of luck to her. :)

Oct 23rd, 2008, 08:07 PM
She went through a horrible experience. I can't imagine how hard it would be to handle that. She sounds optimistic about next year which is very encouraging.

Oct 24th, 2008, 07:55 PM
Keep fighting, Jelena. You can do it if you stay committed.

cn ireland
Oct 24th, 2008, 08:13 PM
Come on Jelena, I know you can make the top 20 again:hearts:!

Oct 24th, 2008, 09:29 PM
I've been waiting for your comeback Jelena!
I hope we your fans can inspire you even just a bit.

Oct 24th, 2008, 10:38 PM
I feel a lot of sympathy for her, yet her saying about "loosing her family"
projects a false image of some fatal accident or illness taking the family literally away from her. The truth is she herself took the decision to break with her family even if her father could be blamed for a lot of turmoil in her earlier career. And she learned later that she wasn't strong enough to rely only on herself.

Oct 25th, 2008, 09:04 AM
Jelena:hug: You can do it. All your fans are supporting you:)

Oct 25th, 2008, 10:52 AM
I feel a lot of sympathy for her, yet her saying about "loosing her family"
projects a false image of some fatal accident or illness taking the family literally away from her. The truth is she herself took the decision to break with her family even if her father could be blamed for a lot of turmoil in her earlier career. And she learned later that she wasn't strong enough to rely only on herself.

I appreciate what you've said, but I think it's rather irrelevant. She was separated from her family. Irrespective of whether this was something she had a say in or not, it was something she obviously felt had to happen.

I don't think it's a very valid point to make saying that she wasn't strong enough to rely on only herself. I don't believe anyone could do any better than she did in her circumstances. Not strong enough? She's still here isn't she.

Oct 25th, 2008, 10:57 AM
Good luck Jelena. :) Top 20 definitely isn't impossible!