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tennisIlove09
May 9th, 2003, 09:00 PM
Damir Dokic Says He's Severed Ties With Jelena


Jelena Dokic By Richard Pagliaro
05/09/2003

Human headline maker Damir Dokic could create controversy for his daughter, Jelena Dokic, with the sometimes bizarre stream of consciousness statements emanating from his mouth. Now that Jelena Dokic has distanced herself from her father, Damir Dokic is giving his daughter the silent treatment.

In an interview with Alex Brown published in the Sydney Morning Herald today, Damir Dokic said he has completely severed ties with his daughter and blames the break-up on her boyfriend, formula one race car driver Enrique Bernoldi, who shares a Monte Carlo home with Jelena.

"I never want to see [Jelena] again," Damir Dokic told Brown in a telephone interview translated by his son, Savo. "She left us. We don't need her. My wife speaks to her often, but I don't want to. I am angry at her. She did things that she was not supposed to. We brought her back here and did everything for her until she was 19. Then she chose that idiot [Mr Bernoldi]."

Speaking from his home in Serbia and Montengro, Damir Dokic blasted his daughter's boyfriend as a bad influence.

"Everybody says he's a formula one driver, but he is no one — nothing. [Jelena] supports him," Damir Dokic said. "My family put all the money from their house into her tennis, but it wasn't enough. In the beginning we had lots of support from Tennis Australia as well."

Born in Belgrade, Jelena Dokic and her family emigrated from Serbia to Sydney, Australia when she was 11 years old. Dokic played for Australia in the Fed Cup and in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, but her relationship with Tennis Australia officials soured as her father accused officials of "rigging" the Australian Open draw against his daughter.

The unseeded Dokic drew defending champion Lindsay Davenport in the opening-round of the Australian Open in January of 2001. Her father was furious over the draws his daughter received in both 2000 and 2001 and charged the draw was "fixed."

"I think the draw is fixed just for her," Damir Dokic said at the time. "If it is not, the country should protect its own player. Jelena was crying for the first time ever last night. I have never seen her cry about tennis in her life and she was saying that she could not believe that she got that kind of draw in Australia. She feels betrayed. She feels that no one here likes her and when you feel like that it means you have no spaces here where you can just go."

As a result of his one-man feud with Tennis Australia an embittered Damir Dokic left Australia and moved his family to Serbia in 2001. Last year, Damir Dokic claimed he would seek asylum for his family in Great Britain.

Apparently fed up with her father's bizarre behavior and controversial claims, Jelena Dokic banned her parents from the player's area of a tournament last fall. In what seemed to be another move to assert authority over her own career and diminish the influence of domineering dad Damir Dokic, Jelena hired Heinz Gunthardt as her new coach in December. While Gunthardt, who coached Steffi Graf to 12 Grand Slam titles, has tried to help Dokic develop her volley to take advantage of her fast, flat ground strokes, Jelena has struggled to adapt to a new style of play. Once ranked as high as No. 4, Dokic has dropped to No. 11 in the rankings.

Dokic dissolved in a slew of unforced errors in suffering a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(0) to Iroda Tulyaganova at the German Open yesterday. Dokic admitted she has struggled to gain her confidence amid the uncertainty and indecision she feels on the court.

"Maybe if you have done as well as I have in the last few years you get to a stage where you slow down a bit and don't have such a good year," Dokic said. "Your confidence goes a little and you take a step back."

The 2000 Wimbledon semifinalist's decision to step away from her domineering dad has led her to consider returning to represent Australia in international play.

Damir Dokic dismissed reports his daughter will play for Australia in Fed Cup and the 2004 Athens Olympics, though he admitted leaving the country was his "biggest mistake."

" She's not going to play for Australia [at the Athens Olympics]," Dokic told Brown. "We didn't leave Australia, we were kicked out. Australia is a nice and good country and the people are very nice. It's just that some people in Tennis Australia and the media gave us problems. They did not support [Jelena]. We still have all those newspapers telling us to go. We probably never would have gone out of Australia if it wasn't for that. I'm sorry we left. But one hundred per cent, I think we made our biggest mistake leaving Australia. That's why I want to say hello to all the Australian people, especially [Jelena's former coach] Mr. Tony Roche because I remember him every day."


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Like it or not, This has effected Jelena. But could her family problems be the cause of her recent slump on the tennis court?

selesfan87
May 9th, 2003, 09:24 PM
I'm sure this would affect her. It would affect anyone unless your name was Williams, in which case, nothing would affect you.

auntie janie
May 9th, 2003, 10:31 PM
More evidence that Jelena is wise to get free of this looney tunes! But yes, it will take her a while to be free of him inside her head, and that surely is taking a toll on her.

Right now I'd love to see her turn things around, get some good wins; I think that would help her a lot in moving on.

Dava
May 9th, 2003, 10:35 PM
I dont think Jelena is in that big a slump, I mean she played well in Charleston and Warsaw, and Iroda is a tough opponent.

CC
May 10th, 2003, 12:30 AM
"Then she chose that idiot [Mr Bernoldi]."

Funny how the writer inserts Mr. Bernoldi here. :D :p