One-time world top-10 player Jelena Dokic is making another comeback attempt
UNFINISHED business is driving Jelena Dokic to make another tennis comeback.
The 30-year-old, who has not played for 18 months because of a wrist injury requiring surgery late last year, plans to contest the Australian Open wildcard play-off in December, hoping to return to the big time atin the first Grand Slam of 2014.
“The play-off will be the first thing for me that I would like to play and go from there,” Dokic said. “I’m excited to see where I’ll be in November, December and January.”
Dokic (above), who turned pro 15 years ago, draws inspiration from Japan’s the likes of Kimiko Date-Krumm, the 43-year-old Japanese player still beating rivals half her age.
“She’s a machine,” Dokic said. “Some people feel like they’re done at 27, 28 and some have played until 35, 36. There’s still a lot of men and women tennis players today that are over 30 and are doing well.
“The biggest thing is motivation every day because it’s not easy to come out after 15 or 20 years you’ve been doing this and train for five or six hours a day, which is still something that I don’t have a problem with.”
“As long as I feel like I want to go out there and give everything that I have and compete, I’m happy with that.”
Dokic is no longer listed on the world rankings but, should she manage to return to some semblance of the woman who reached a career-high No.4 in 2002, she would be in good company playing into her 30s.
World No.1 Serena Williams is 32, fifth-ranked Li Na is 31 and Date-Krumm is ranked 55th, while men’s No.12 Tommy Haas appears evergreen at the age of 35.
Dokic has bounced back before in a career plagued by injury and off-court issues.
Her 2007 season was a write-off but she made a successful return in 2008, ending that year by winning the wildcard play-off for the 2009 Australian Open, where she reached the quarter-finals. Dokic has reached the second round at the past two Australian Opens.