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View Full Version : The Fall and Rebirth of Jelena Dokic: Andrew's report


andrewbroad
Dec 19th, 2005, 10:05 PM
(Warning: LONG)

After disappearing off the face of the Earth for three months (August to November), Jelena has returned to Australia after a five-year exile, and will henceforth play for Australia again, rather than Serbia and Montenegro (wtatour.com changed her nationality from SCG to AUS on 5th December).

I'm just very pleased and excited that Jelena is making a positive commitment and seems to be in the right headspace again, after (by her own admission) frittering 2005 away. I don't really care which country she represents (Australia and Serbia have both given me so much to be a fan of) - Jelena is the object of my loyalty, from 22nd June 1999 to eternity.

She arrived in Melbourne on 3rd December to attend the Australian Open training-camp. This entailed not just tennis-training, but rigorous exercises such as running uphill through sand at an incline of 40°.

The training-camp culminated in a wildcard play-off, in the form of a 16-player knockout-draw, with the ultimate winner being awarded a wildcard for the main draw of the Australian Open 2006 (Jelena's current ranking of #349 being way too low for direct acceptance).

Jelena won the wildcard play-off today - to my delight, and to the relief of Tennis Australia, who would almost certainly have given Jelena a wildcard anyway if she had lost, but they would have faced angry protests for doing so at the expense of one of the "faithful" Australians.

Jelena had already been given wildcards for Auckland (week of 2nd January 2006) and Canberra (week of 9th January).

This report consists of the following sections:
* AUSTRALIAN OPEN WILDCARD PLAY-OFFS: my tournament-review
* Jelena's slump
* Jelena's disappearance: The facts
* Jelena's disappearance: The rumours
* Jelena's return to Australia


==================================
AUSTRALIAN OPEN WILDCARD PLAY-OFFS (Melbourne, Australia; Rebound Ace)
==================================

Despite the 20°C weather in Melbourne, Jelena played all her matches in cropped tracksuit-pants - not out of an ultraconservative sense of modesty, but because of a groin-injury.

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First round (Friday 16th December)
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+ Jelena Dokic d. Beti Sekulovski, 6-2 7-6 (8/6)

http://www.tennisaustralia.com.au/pages/default.aspx?id=4&PageID=1399 (http://www.tennisaustralia.com.au/pages/default.aspx?id=4&PageID=1399)
>>>
The 22-year-old won a comfortable first set and after breaking serve in the second looked set for an easy win. But world No. 344 Sekulovski refused to give in, breaking back and eventually sending the set to a tiebreaker.

Dokic, ranked No.349 in the world, got the early break in the tiebreak, and at 6/5 had her second match-point opportunity but failed to convert. An impressive running forehand set up her third match-point, which she delivered on for a 6-2 7-6(2) victory.
<<<

DomenicDemaria's match-report:
>>>
Is was a good match. Beti was very unlucky to draw Jelena coz of what I saw they were both hitting the ball way better than anyone else there. Jelena was really, really motivated today and really wanted to win! She hit about 20 winners to about 30 unforced errors. She served alot of doubles but she did go after her second serves. Jelena really stepped up at the end. She played her best tennis in the tiebreak. Beti played great and never gave up. Beti threw everything at Jelena but Jelena handled the pressure well and played two spectacular winners at the end to close it out. She was quite relaxed and very positive!
<<<

Jelena: "It was good. I was a little bit nervous - I haven't played matches in a very long time. There is some things I could improve on, but I expected not to play too well in the first match - but I played better than I expected.

"I feel good. I think match-play will help, because we have three or four days in a row. The more I practise and the more I play matches, hopefully the better I'll get.

"I think I got a little bit defensive. I get nervous which is normal, but that comes down to match-play. I'm not used to that - I used to play 70 or 80 matches a year, so I think that will just take some time. I've lost my feel for playing matches and for being at tournaments, but I expect to improve with each match.

"It's much better now than the first day - I was a little bit lost the first day and I didn't know anybody. A lot of people have tried to help me to fit in, and it's a much better feel now and we all get along a little bit better. I don't expect everybody to be on my side, but it's been great so far."

(Re. her new coach Lesley Bowrey)
"We haven't had much work yet but it's better, I think, someone who can help me and she knows me quite well - and she knows how I get in matches, and what I need to work on."

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Quarter-final (Saturday 17th December)
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+ Jelena Dokic d. Shayna McDowell, 7-6 (7/3) 6-1

There was a rain-delay with Jelena leading 5-4.

Jelena: "I had a tough first set and I was still a little bit nervous, but I think it was an improvement on yesterday. Especially in the second set, it was getting better. It's getting to where I want to play, and I'm focused. It was tough, and I'm happy the way I handled it."

(Re. playing back-to-back matches)
"It's just a matter of how I'm going to pull up, but physically I feel fine. I'm going to need some more matches and tournaments to get used to that again, but I've worked hard the last two or three months."

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Semi-final (Sunday 18th December)
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+ Jelena Dokic d. Trudi Musgrave, 6-1 6-3

Max Soy's eye-witness report (excerpt):
>>>
Jela clearly outclassed Musgrave in the first set with 85% of first serves in and helped along by a myriad of unforced errors by the latter. Jela also consistently scored more winners than Musgrave throughout the match. In the 1s she only dropped one game and that was on Musgrave's serve. In the 2s she broke early to get to a 2-0 lead, but she was broken herself, only to regain the break immediately after. She thereafter dropped service another two times with five double faults, but Musgrave didn't hold serve once in the match. After a brief rain delay at 5-2, she failed to serve out the match but then prompty broke Musgrave again to take out the match 6-1 6-3.
<<<

Jelena: "It would be much better to win tomorrow, sure. But I don't know how much my [wildcard] chances are, even if I don't win tomorrow. I think there's a lot of good players, yes, but considering what I've done in my career and how well I've done, I think I should maybe get one.

"This is not my decision, this is up to Tennis Australia and the people that decide this, but hopefully I won't have to rely on that, and hopefully I'll win tomorrow so I won't have to wait.

"I am surprised because I hardly trained the last year-and-a-half. I had some surgeries, so I'm pretty happy with the way it's going as well, physically. I couldn't get out of bed this time last year, so I'm very happy to be able to play again and to be healthy.

"I definitely have some work to do, and it will not come quickly or easily, but I think having some wildcards at the beginning of the year will definitely help me, and it's good to get some matches in now before the tournaments. It's only two or three weeks to go, so I think these matches will come in handy.

"There's pressure on everybody. I don't think there's any more on me particularly than anyone else. I've done well to get this far, and I've come through pretty easily, so I have nothing to lose tomorrow, just go out there the same that I have every other day."

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Final (Monday 19th December)
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+ Jelena Dokic d. Monique Adamczak, 4-6 6-3 6-2

Adamczak is 22 - the same age as Jelena - and ranked six places lower at #355. They were great friends as juniors, and Adamczak can match Jelena for power but not precision (thanks to TS of WTAworld.com for this information).

Sunny_Boy's match-report:
>>>
Jelena started off slow, she got broken in the 1st game thanks to 2 doubles but broke straght back. At 2-1 up in the 1st she told the umpire "My leg is hurting and i have only played three games". After that games mainly went with serves, i think. Monique was using the slice very well and Jelena didn't like no pace. Monique then went up a set and a break, 6-4 3-2. Jelena then picked up her play, cut down some errors and won the 2nd set. In the 3rd Jelena was playing alot better, she hit alot more winners and controlled the play.
<<<

Jelena: "I was very nervous the beginning of the match, and that showed in the first set. But it was good to come out of that. I was down in the second set as well, so I pulled myself together so I'm happy.

"I don't have to wait to see if I will get one. I had a good time at the camp, I was getting better and better with each match. I think it's just a matter of nerves for me because I haven't played for so long, and I'm happy with that. I overcame that a little bit, and I'm definitely happy to get the wildcard.

"I just need to go for it and not be as nervous. I have a little bit more confidence now, and I will just work my way in, which is good. I'm still pulling up sore after matches, but this is normal. It's good that's happening now before the actual tournaments start.

"It will still take some time. Definitely having these four matches here has helped. The Australian Open is a very important tournament for me, but I'm looking more towards the first six months of next year.

"My ranking's pretty low, so I have nothing to lose. I have no points to defend, and I can only improve. Every match that I win is a bonus. There's absolutely no pressure on me.

"I was maybe expected to win here, so there was pressure, especially today, and just the pressure of maybe waiting to see whether I would get a wildcard if I didn't win. So this was definitely a very important few days, and I'm just glad it's over.

"Getting in the top 100 is my first goal so I can get into tournaments. Having some wildcards at the beginning will help, but if I can play well and improve well with each match, I think I can get in the top 50.

"I knew I would have to do the play-off, I knew I had to do the camp, and even if I didn't get the wildcard I would have had to wait and see if they would give me one, but it's a lot easier like this."


Now that I have reviewed the tournament, it's time to go back to before the beginning...


==============
Jelena's slump
==============

The downward turning-point of Jelena's career appears to have come in October 2002, when Jelena had a major row with her parents over her then-boyfriend, racing-driver Enrique Bernoldi, to whom Damir had taken an intense dislike. It culminated in Jelena leaving her parents, and having them banned from the players-only areas of tournaments. Damir said he never wanted to see Jelena again.

Up to that point, Jelena was firmly established in the top ten, with five WTA titles in her career. But 2003 was very disappointing compared with 2001 and 2002 - rectified only by her amazing run to the Zurich final - and in 2004 her career went into the freefall which has seen her ranking drop to #349.

In 2003, Jelena admitted that her confidence was very low, and that she was not as strong mentally as before - a mental strength acquired from her tough childhood.

So the root cause of Jelena's problems appears to be the deterioration of her relationship with her family. In 2004, she said she was very upset that she could no longer see her mother and brother, because of her rift with her father.


=================================
Jelena's disappearance: The facts
=================================

Jelena disappeared for three months without a trace after her last tournament on the ITF Women's Circuit in August 2005. I start by reviewing the facts as we know them:

4th August: Jelena retired from ITF Martina Franca with a left adductor contracture, while trailing Lourdes Domínguez Lino 1-6 0-1 (30/40) in the second round.

8th August: Jelena withdrew from ITF Rimini.

11th August: Jelena withdrew from ITF Coimbra.

22nd September: Jelena did a "no-show" at ITF Glasgow - i.e. she didn't officially withdraw or give the tournament any explanation, she just didn't turn up for her scheduled match.

27th September: Jelena withdrew from ITF Porto. An unofficial source indicates that this was due to a sinus-problem.
<http://www.wtaworld.com/showpost.php?p=6296796 (http://www.wtaworld.com/showpost.php?p=6296796)>

4th October: Jelena no-show at ITF Nantes.

12th October: Jelena no-show at ITF Jersey.

13th October: Jelena withdrew from ITF Seville and Saint Rahael - possibly not by her own hand, as she was banned from the ITF Women's Circuit until she paid her fines for the no-shows.
<http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=198718 (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=198718)>

Todd Spiker's Jelena Corner (13th October):
http://www.jelena-dokic.com/jelena/articles/200510/01.htm (http://www.jelena-dokic.com/jelena/articles/200510/01.htm)


===================================
Jelena's disappearance: The rumours
===================================

With Jelena's no-shows, and a total lack of quotes from Jelena herself between August and November, several rumours emerged from the fan-community and from Serbian tabloids.

Rumours I believe(d):
* She was having problems with her sinuses.
* Someone tried to phone her and she didn't answer.
* She's not speaking to her father (Damir Dokic), but maintains irregular contact with her mother (Liliana).
* She hasn't been to Serbia since October 2004.
* Jelena went missing - no one knew where she was.
<http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=201329 (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=201329)>
* She was hiding in Croatia.
<http://www.jelena-online.tk/ (http://www.jelena-online.tk/) - scans from Kurir and Gloria>

Rumours I don't (didn't) believe:
* She has retired from professional tennis.
* She was seen in Glasgow (the scene of her first no-show), but went to the toilet and just disappeared.
<http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=199666 (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=199666)>
* She split up with her boyfriend, Tino Bikic (not true - he's with her in Australia).
<http://www.jelena-online.tk/ (http://www.jelena-online.tk/)>


============================
Jelena's return to Australia
============================

This section contains quotes from Jelena herself, and what other people have been saying about her.

------------
Jelena Dokic (29th November)
------------

"I am an Australian, I feel like an Australian, and I want to play for Australia again.

"What happened before, I had no control over. The decisions weren't made by me. This is a decision I am making.

"I wanted to go back [to Australia] before, but I was a little afraid of what reception I'd receive. Everyone will have their opinion, and I cannot know how much will be positive or negative, but I owe a lot to so many people in Australia. It is where I belong.

"Australia is such a great country, the people are amazing. I had tremendous support from a lot of people, I loved playing Fed Cup, it was a great experience for me, I got along with everyone. I made a really good connection with so many people when I was at Tennis Australia, and I'd like to have that feeling again.

"I never got rid of my Australian nationality, I'm ready to be Australian again - there would be no point going back if I didn't feel Australian.

"I was upset with what happened before. I had problems off court, which I think I dealt with pretty well, but I was so much younger then. There just comes a point when you have had enough. If you train for ten hours a day and you aren't happy, you cannot perform.

"I wasn't weak when I reached No 4 and the Wimbledon semi-final, but I am so much stronger in my mind, and hopefully that will help with my tennis as well. When you have gone through so much... I carried an enormous amount of pressure on my shoulders before, but I'm free of that now.

"My father and I have completely different ideas, we aren't on the same wavelength. I am not able to live with him or to work with him. When you are in that situation, you can survive for a certain period of time, but then it has to end. It is like that with a coach, but it is so much tougher when it is family.

"I'll try my best - this is not an easy step to take for either side, and I don't know what to expect. I would like to return to the top 10 or 20, but that takes time and I'm fine with that. Maybe I'm not at such a disadvantage, because I feel very eager again on the court.

"I haven't been ready to play before, but I've been training hard recently, and though I know it won't come back easily for me, I have nothing to lose. I'm not expected to beat anyone, no one knows what to expect from me - I don't know what to expect from myself, but I'm fine with that.

"I finally feel happy and good about my life, and I am hungry to compete back at the level I used to."

------------
Jelena Dokic (3rd December - the day she arrived in Melbourne)
------------

"I was a little bit nervous coming here. I'm even happier with my decision now. It will be tough, not everyone will agree with my decision. I'm really excited about coming here. I really want to make new start and I feel Australian already.

"It wasn't a sudden change. I wanted to do it even two years ago and there was talk about that. I was ready to come here month before to get used of everything. I was a little bit worried about the people's reaction, but I took a risk, and this is what I want, and it would be nice if people accept it.

"I really want to fit in here and I'm looking forward to playing for Australia again."

(Re. leaving Australia in 2001)
"I didn't know any better. I didn't do anything wrong. The decisions were not made by me. Yes, people will judge and say I did those things, and that's why I'm back here - I wanted to show them I feel Australian and I grew up here, and I really love to get the support I had before. I know that will take time, but I have nothing to regret; hopefully we can all look forward.

"I am really motivated again. I would love to play well again, and it would be a really good start to play front of the Australian public again.

"I have been out of tennis for the past year [not technically true - she played ten tournaments]. I think it was good because I did so much so early, and I had so much pressure on me, and I think it was good to have the year off. Yes it will be tough to come back again, but I think I will really enjoy it, especially if I can get some support here.

"I think it is a really good opportunity for me tennis-wise. I was ready to come here a month before, to train and get used to everything, and it's not just to come here two days before the tournament and say I'm Australian, I really want to fit in here again, and hopefully the people of Australia will understand that.

"There will always be somebody that has a different opinion and that is okay, that is fine, it's the same with the public, but hopefully people will understand my side of the story. I have had some really difficult things to deal with, but this has always been home. This where I did most of my tennis, and most of the help I have got is from here.

"He's my father, he's family, but he doesn't make my decisions any more - I make my own. Yeah we've split, and we don't agree on a lot of things, but that's {life/passed} - {I/we} really have to look forward and go from here."

------------
Jelena Dokic (5th December)
------------

"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. What happened before, looking back now I don't agree with that and I would really like to make up for that, look forward, play for Australia, be Australian and get my career back on track. What happened before, looking back now I don't agree with that, and I would really like to make up for that.

"I did want to come back two years ago, but I was a little bit afraid of the reaction of the people and the players. But so far everyone I have had to deal with and speak to has been {really good/very supportive}.

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

"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.

"I was 16 [17 actually] at the time. 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."

(Re. Damir writing her off)
"Well that's good actually because no-one expects anything from me, including him and that's okay.

"I believe in myself. I've trained hard to get to this stage again, and I definitely think I can get back. I think all the pressure that I had on me I dealt with at the time, and then later it took its toll. 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.

"Mary Pierce has done that, so she has been a very big inspiration for the last year because she's done exactly that and maybe having a similar situation to me. I've already proved that I can play well, I've had good results, so now I can just enjoy my tennis, enjoy every shot I play.

"Being here and training for a month will help me out a lot. Training with the girls and the guys and doing this camp will help me a lot, and then I get some wildcards, and hopefully I can do well at the beginning of the circuit.

"I came here a month early to practise and to try to fit in, and hopefully it will all go well.

"I think it's a little bit difficult for everybody, first because it came as a surprise that I'm back, and second... especially with the girls, it's always tougher than the guys. But that's okay - I expected that, and I'm sure not everybody is happy with that, but that's all right. I will try to work my way back, and hopefully I'll fit in.

"I had a hit yesterday and I feel good, and today was good, a lot of players and a lot of girls, and it was good to get a hit in. It's nice to practise in a team as well, and it's tougher practice with a lot of different people, so it's a really good system.

"I'm not 100%, but that takes time, and also I haven't been in hot weather for a long time and practised outdoors, so this whole week will be important, and also to try to get some matches in.

"Everyone has the same chance, everyone's out here to win the wildcard, but I'm not too concerned about that yet. That's next week, so I still have some practising to do until then."

(Re. Australian Open wildcards)
"That's not my decision. So far I had a lot of support from the tournaments before, so I'm here to earn one first. If I don't, hopefully I'll get one, but that's still a long way away.

(Re. her father Damir)
"I don't talk to him at all. 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."

(Re: her mother Liliana and brother Savo)
"Obviously, they made their choice as well, and I made mine.

"I eat some Tim Tams. I miss that. I miss a lot of things. The city has been great. We wanted to take in some sights on the weekend, and I will do some more of that in the next few days."

-----------
Damir Dokic (Serbian newspaper Kurir, 11th November)
-----------

"Jelena phoned her mother and told her she plans to travel to Melbourne in December to prepare for the Australian Open. She wants to take Australian citizenship when she is there, and to play at the Australian Open as an Australian citizen.

"I think the decision to go back to Australia is good for her. But she must change her life and her coach. She must forget the boy in Croatia - it is a big mistake.

"I don't think she has a big chance of coming back in tennis. My opinion is that she should come back here [to Serbia and Montenegro] like before. Now she doesn't practise or live a good life. I don't have any conversation with her. Jelena has not called in maybe two years. When she leaves the [family] house, she is finished. We are a strong, good family. She would practise hard and concentrate on tennis. She was good. Now she don't have nothing. Maybe there is a chance that she could come back, but I think it would be very difficult. Every second in her head she has problems.

"She did not call for three months and I was about to ring the police. She phoned my wife from Croatia saying she was okay. I thought she had been kidnapped or something."

-----------------------------
Lesley Bowrey, Jelena's coach
-----------------------------

Lesley coached Jelena for four years (until Damir sacked her in 1999). She and Jelena shared hotel-rooms in Europe.

"I always had a soft spot for Jelena, and if I could help her in any way, I would."

Jelena: "We went through quite a bit together - it was great when I worked with her before, and she helped me a lot."

Lesley is now Jelena's coach once more... but it's not a permanent arrangement at this stage.

Lesley: "I'm planning to work with her during the Australian season, and we're just taking it one step at a time and seeing how it goes.

"It's all very well hitting the ball and things like that... she's hitting the ball very well, and she just needs to find a few more subtleties in her game that she had before, and that will give her a lot of confidence.

"It's going to take a little time, but definitely yes, she's a great player and she's got a great determination, so she can get back to where she was before. She needs to work at a few things, but if she has the right influences around her, there's no reason why she can't get back.

"She's feeling her way and there are signs there, but it's just not automatic. The ability's there. She's always had that ability to hit a winner, and she's a great competitor. They're two very good ingredients to become a top player.

"I'm hoping that I'll stick by her until the end of the Australian Open, and maybe she'll be in the top 100 by the end of that.

"She'd feel much happier about that because she's actually earned her spot, which is what she wants to do. She doesn't want handouts, she's happy to earn her spot, and obviously the matches are very good for her, so it's been a good event so far.

"She's feeling a lot more comfortable now on the court. Everything is still not quite automatic yet, but the more she plays, the better she'll get. She feels she's making the progress she is expecting of herself. We are working on a few things, aspects of her game, in between just getting her playing as many matches as possible.

"We're not looking too far ahead, just the Australian circuit. Maybe, if I can help her out overseas at some point in her career, we will team up again. It's just day-to-day right now. It's going to take a little time, but every day she will get better. We can't expect the world overnight. But she's certainly got the game, and I certainly believe she can get back up into the top 10."

(Re. Jelena's 2005 season)
"She was just practising, and I think she just lost her nerve to come out and play. So the ranking kept going out, and she really didn't have any guidance to know what to do. She had nobody really to help her without a mum and dad around, and it was a real shame, so this is really nice for her."

(Re. the wildcard final)
"I think she was quite nervous today. She was just anxious about wanting to win the wildcard and she just got a little ahead of herself, but in the end she pulled it out."

------------------------------------
Craig Miller, former coach of Jelena
------------------------------------

Craig Miller coached Jelena when she was twelve, and Jelena was rumoured to have appointed him as her new coach. However, Jelena in a later interview claimed she had no coach, and now we know that Lesley Bowrey is her new coach.

"I've always thought she was top-three material. Jelena has the ability to get back to the top again. She was very well supported when she was here [Australia], so I think it could only be a positive thing for her.

"She probably has a few knots that need untying in terms of her outlook towards the game. She has to let go of the baggage that's probably going on in her head, and work towards her strength, which is her incredible groundstrokes."

---------------------------------------------
Paul McNamee, Australian Open chief executive
---------------------------------------------

This is the man most directly responsible for deciding whether to give Jelena a wildcard anyway if she failed to win the play-off tournament. There are eight Australian players ranked between Jelena's #349 and the main-draw cut-off, but none of these are even close to being as talented - or indeed as beautiful and ticket-sellingly popular - as Jelena.

"Jelena is going to be at the Australian Open training-camp, and she will be in the play-off. We won't be making any decision on wildcards for the Australian
Open until after the playoffs and [we] see how everyone's going. There will be a level playing-field for everyone. We will be fair with every player. But the signs are she's in good shape.

"Like any other tournament-director, she's the sort of player you'd want to have in your tournament; she brings a lot to the tournament. But we have to see what happens.

"You have it all the time. You have it with guys like Mark Philippoussis and a lot of other players.

"You do get some credit for what you've done before in the sport. She's been as high as four in the world, and was a couple of points from playing off for a gold medal for Australia in the Sydney Olympics, so she's done a fair bit.

"The question-mark was, would she be here? How fit is she and how's she hitting the ball... so far, from what I've seen, pretty good.

"We're certainly giving her a chance, and we hope other people do too. She seems to have the fire in her belly and the eye of the tiger... which is a good sign."

--------------------------------------------------------
Evonne Goolagong Cawley, ambassador for Tennis Australia
--------------------------------------------------------

"We should give her the chance, really. She wants to come back, and she is here on her own now, she is without her father. Good luck to her, I wish her all the best."

"She was a great competitor and, knowing the way she played, I think she can get back. If she really wants it - and she sounds like she is pretty determined - if she really wants it, she can do it.

"I don't see why not. There will be other wildcards given out to some of the other players."

------------------------------------------
John Alexander, Australian Fed Cup captain
------------------------------------------

Normally when a player changes her nationality, she has to wait three years since she played Fed Cup for her old country before she can play Fed Cup for her new country. Jelena last played Fed Cup for Serbia and Montenegro in April 2004, but John Alexander believes she could be allowed to play Fed Cup for Australia as early as 2006, if the ITF will recognise her extenuating circumstances as "hardship".

"If anyone could make an application on hardship, she could. It wasn't her decision to leave.

"The women's game is at an all-time high, and whether she can achieve that No.4 ranking again is something else, but she will be a very interesting competitor if she can regain her full form. Being fully grown now, there's no reason why she can't improve on the level that she was playing at.

"Tennis is very much a holistic type of sport. If you're upset, you're not going to play very well, because you're not going to have that emotional resource and fibre when the going gets tough."

----------------------------------
Tony Roche, former coach of Jelena
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"If she commits to playing for Australia and sticks to it, yeah, I would happily welcome her. You hate to see somebody who has been up near the top get to where she now is, but she's a fighter."

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Samantha Stosur, Australian player
----------------------------------

"I think she is hitting the ball well, she is hitting the ball a bit better than me at the moment, I think it's a good preparation."

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Nicole Pratt, Australian player
-------------------------------

World #127 Pratt thought it would be unfair if Jelena failed to win a wildcard, and was then given a wildcard instead of her.

"I would be extremely disappointed if I'm not in the main draw, but if I have to play qualifying, I'll play qualifying. I'm prepared to work my way up and get my ranking back up, and I know I'm capable of doing that.

"From a personal point of view, it seems to be all positive for her. I wish Jelena well. I like to see every athlete get the most out of themselves and, for sure, Jelena's got a lot more to give."

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Rennae Stubbs, Australian player
--------------------------------

"She owes a lot of apologies to people - and the Australian public is one of them, as well as her fellow Australian players that she left hanging."

I'm disappointed in Stubbs's attitude, given that she played doubles with Jelena at Eastbourne 2003 - two years after the Dokics left Australia. But there's nothing like a change of nationality to reveal who Jelena's true friends and enemies are.

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Slobodan Zivojinovic, Serbian Tennis Federation president
---------------------------------------------------------

"If Jelena's application for Australian citizenship will be good for her career, then I wish her well. I've tried to contact her, but have been unable to do so for the last 12 months."

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Ana Ivanovic, Serbian player
----------------------------

(Ana is in Melbourne, practising for the Australian Open)

"I think it is great for her to be back. She has been happy in Australia before, and she has played some of her best tennis here.

"She has been out for some time. I haven't seen her playing, but for sure she is a great player, so she has a good chance of making it back.

"She has to do what is best for her. Australia is a great country."

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Anastassia Rodionova, Russian player
------------------------------------

"I think she's on the way back. She's working very hard and is very focused; I think she'll do well."


==========
The future
==========

Top 50 is an easy target for one of Jelena's talent, once she truly applies herself - which she now seems ready to do again at last.

The real question is whether, at 22, her best tennis is behind her or still ahead of her.

She's been as high as #4 in the rankings already, but has only won five WTA singles-titles so far, and been to one Grand Slam semi-final (Wimbledon 2000).

My predictions: with women's tennis being so strong, it's a very tall order for Jelena to better her highest ranking of #4. But if she regains anything resembling her best form, she could certainly win more WTA titles and reach more Grand Slam semi-finals. But for any given tournament, it will have a lot to do with the luck of the draw and everything coming together at the right time.

Kim Clijsters was able not only to come back, but to come back and dominate - stronger than when she left. I always thought Jelena was a class above Clijsters in talent, but can Jelena's 2006 be better than Clijsters' 2005? The difference is that Clijsters was sidelined with a serious injury, whereas Jelena has lost a lot of form and confidence over the last three years.

But, as various comebacks have shown us over the years I've been following professional tennis, a class-player never really loses his or her talent. It's just a question of whether her body holds up, and she remembers how to win.


Photos and further reading:
http://www.jelena-online.tk/ (http://www.jelena-online.tk/)
http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=208074&page=5 (http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?t=208074&page=5) (also pp.8,11)
http://www.wtaworld.com/showpost.php?p=6867989 (http://www.wtaworld.com/showpost.php?p=6867989)
http://www.tennisaustralia.com.au/pages/default.aspx?id=4&PageID=1399 (http://www.tennisaustralia.com.au/pages/default.aspx?id=4&PageID=1399)

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/ (http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/)
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/ (http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/)
http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/dokic/ (http://www.geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/dokic/)

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Jelena_Dokic_Players_Lounge/ (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Jelena_Dokic_Players_Lounge/)
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Jelena_Dokic_Players_Lounge_II/ (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Jelena_Dokic_Players_Lounge_II/)
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/ (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/)

KimC&MariaSNo1's
Dec 20th, 2005, 01:50 AM
very good i thikn jelena will come back strong but i donno if she ill have a 2006 like clijsters 2005

vutt
Dec 20th, 2005, 07:35 AM
wow, Andrew, that's a lot of work you have done ;)

KimC&MariaSNo1's
Dec 21st, 2005, 09:13 AM
he certainly pit alot of time and effort into it its very informative

fleur137
Dec 21st, 2005, 11:30 AM
thank you for the report!

MilanDokic
Dec 24th, 2005, 11:11 PM
Don't wish Merry Christmas to Jelena now, because her Christmas is on 7th January 2006!

Babolatpro880
Dec 25th, 2005, 12:31 PM
Don't wish Merry Christmas to Jelena now, because her Christmas is on 7th January 2006!

The day she wins Auckland? :hearts:

Erika_Angel
Dec 25th, 2005, 02:51 PM
No lol that is the orthodox Christmas date.


But yeh also the day she wins Aukland ;)

MilanDokic
Dec 25th, 2005, 07:54 PM
No lol that is the orthodox Christmas date.


But yeh also the day she wins Aukland ;)

Yes, her Christmas is on 7th January 2006!