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WhatTheDeuce
Jan 4th, 2006, 06:49 PM
Dokic warned over coaches
Leo Schlink and Nikki Tugwell
January 5, 2006

TENNIS Australia will continue its coaching support of Jelena Dokic despite her split from coach Lesley Bowrey.

Dokic, 22, almost certainly will be invited to join the Fed Cup squad or Australian Institute of Sport squad from February 1. Inclusion in either group attracts coaching backing under TA's player development pathway.

But Dokic will be told there are no exceptions to TA's support criteria in the wake of her fallout with Bowrey, who is on TA's payroll.

"It's a two-way street between Tennis Australia and the players," TA director of player development Craig Tiley said yesterday.

"If players go to a tournament where we do not have any of our four coaches and they want a coach to accompany them, the player is expected to make a contribution.

"There are no exceptions.

"I have not heard from Jelena's mouth the reason why Lesley did not go to Auckland with her.

"I will sit down with Jelena in Canberra next week and the whole thing will be clarified. From those discussions, I hope to have an understanding of where Jelena sees herself in the player development pathway."

Bowrey is among four TA coaches assigned to a group of 16 players, eight male and eight female.

TA pays the wages and expenses of the coaches at selected tournaments. If a player chooses to play a different event other than the specified tournament and wants the coach to travel with them, the player must pay the coach's wages for the week.

This week, TA's resources were concentrated on the Australian Women's Hardcourt event on the Gold Coast, not the ASB Classic in Auckland.

Dokic told Bowrey she was unwilling to pay for the dual French Open champion to travel from Sydney to New Zealand.

The decision backfired when a flustered Dokic was beaten in the first round on Tuesday 5-7 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 by German world No. 81 Julia Schruff.

"I don't know her financial position. She just said she couldn't really afford a coach and so that's where I have left it at," Bowrey said yesterday.

"That's fine. She's got issues that I think she has to deal with and that's her business. Maybe she wants to just try and do it on her own. Who knows?

"She needs to make every match a winner.

"It is difficult for her to be floundering around on her own. It would be very hard for her to get wildcards anywhere else in the world. This is a very big opportunity for her in the next three or four weeks to try and get her ranking back.

"All the top players have coaches and they go around and look at the opposition and get a good idea what to tell their players, so that side of it is very important as is to support the player, especially in Jelena's case."

Former world No. 4 Dokic will play in Canberra next week, hopeful of improving her current ranking of 349th.

Dokic says she is searching for a full-time coach after summoning Bowrey from Sydney to help her at the Australian Open training camp wildcard playoff in Melbourne last month.

By winning the wildcard, Dokic is guaranteed at least $20,000 prizemoney at the Open. Her move to dump an obviously peeved Bowrey on the eve of the new season raised questions how serious Dokic is about the new phase of a disrupted career.