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Dokic Moves Closer To Possible Australia Return

Jelena Dokic By Adrianna Outlaw

Australia played a prominent part in Jelena Dokic's tennis past and may serve as the site of her professional future. Dokic is reportedly moving closer toward an Australian return that would see her represent Australia in international play and compete at the Australian Open for the first time since 2001.

Martin Mulligan — Wimbledon runner-up to Rod Laver in 1962 and a spokesman for Fila, Dokic's clothing sponsor — told The Courier Mail that he initiated talks with Tennis Australia and is optimistic the 11th-ranked Dokic will return to play Down Under.

"There is a strong possibility Jelena will be in Australia next year," Mulligan said.
"It would come as no surprise that she would also have AUS (Australia) and not YUG (Serbia-Montenegro) after her name."

The 20-year-old Dokic, who holds Australian citizenship, but has largely been a citizen of the world after her moving out of her adopted country more than two years ago, currently lives in Monte Carlo with her boyfriend, race car driver Enrique Bernoldi.

Dokic has declined to play the Australian Open for the past two years and has said in the past she has no plans to return to Australia. But in recent months, Dokic has taken steps to distance herself from the influence of her father, the controversial Damir Dokic. Last fall, Dokic banned her parents from the player area at the the Generali Ladies Linz tournament in Linz, Austria.

In another move to assert authority over her own career and diminish the influence of her domineering dad, Dokic hired Heinz Gunthardt as her new coach in December. The fact that she's considering the prospect of playing for Australia is yet another sign Dokic has taken complete control of her career.

"Jelena knows returning to the Australian Open is the first step in healing the rift between herself, Tennis Australia and the Australian public," Mulligan told The Courier Mail.
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