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Discussion Starter #1
Sins of the father to go no further
April 24 2003
The Australian

AUSTRALIA is wooing back Jelena Dokic.

Presumably from Monte Carlo, where she lives and not the former Yugoslavia, who she represents, nor Britain, where her father said she was headed last year.

Dokic and her family were dragged from Australia by her father Damir after the 2001 Australian Open. The happy-go-lucky Damir figured the draw had been rigged against his daughter because she had drawn Lindsay Davenport in the first round.

It is most unlikely the docile Damir believed it absolutely. His daughter was young – 17 at the time – but not stupid. She would have known the well-balanced Damir may have read just a little too much into the issue.

Being a loyal daughter, though, she followed the unflappable Damir and headed to the US, then to Yugoslavia, now called Serbia and Montenegro. Presently, she is learning to drive with Brazilian car racer Enrique Bernoldi. Damir no longer travels with his daughter. Whether that is by mutual consent or Damir in his Kia simply can't quite keep up with Bernoldi's Formula Nissan is quite clear.

Jelena has had a wretched childhood. Her personable father has had showdowns with tennis officials all about the place.

He is most famous for acting as a speed hump outside a tournament in Birmingham after quenching his thirst with some passion. He also turned consumer advocate at the US Open when he complained about the price of salmon in the players' restaurant and was thrown out of Flushing Meadows. At Wimbledon, the colourful Damir smashed a reporter's mobile phone.

Jelena has not helped. She gives only begrudging credit to her Australian coaches and, after losing to Rita Kuti Kis in the Australian Open in 2000, said: "I lost to a player that has never been a player and I guess probably never will be." She also threatened not to play for Australia in the Sydney Olympics. She did eventually, losing in the bronze-medal match to Monica Seles, a Yugoslav turned American. She has chosen not to play in the past two Australian Opens.

So the Tennis Australia wooing of this young woman is proving most unpopular. The Melbourne Herald Sun editorialised yesterday: "Sure, she's young and was dealt a rough hand with a domineering father, but Tennis Australia must look after the loyal young players who have stuck by their country."

In the same paper it was written that she must formally apologise before she be allowed to strike a ball as an Australian again.

If Jelena was to be accompanied by her unassuming father, then it would be a matter of great debate. For he has led her from one mess to another. But Damir is back in Belgrade counting his brain cells – he is not finding it an overly taxing problem.

We would be churlish and unreasonable to punish a child for being loyal to her parent.

That said, nor should we delude ourselves that she is coming home – she'll probably base herself with Enrique in Monte Carlo because of an undying love for Australia. But she does have an affinity for the country she came to in 1994. She wants to play in the Athens Olympics and the only country she can do that for is this one. She must play two Fed Cup ties to complete her eligibility.

If she wants to play for Australia then she should. It will benefit us. If Australia were to pick four women to begin preparation for the Athens Olympics, Samantha Stosur would be one of them. She is ranked No. 151 in the world. She is the fourth highest-ranked Australian.

Above her are Nicole Pratt (No. 45), Alicia Molik (No. 47) and Evie Dominikovic (No. 101). Dokic is ranked No. 10, slipping from a high of No. 5. Women's tennis desperately needs her profile. Every Australian Open the media hunt around for women who make the main draw. They are celebrities. Those that win a game are superstars, those that actually win a match are driven to the interview room by limo and taken back to their hotel by helicopter.

The argument that Australian tennis must dismiss Dokic and support players who have stayed loyal to this country is flawed. Where is Stosur going? Her loyalty is guaranteed because she is supported by Tennis Australia and it is of no benefit for her to go anywhere else.

No, the Stosurs, Christine Wheelers (No. 190) and Cindy Watsons (No. 256) have been given every opportunity to make their way forward in tennis. They will continue to be supported.

Any sporting organisation that does not take the chance to improve its playing stock would be derelict. Australia tolerates Little Lleyton Hewitt calling the public fools and Mark Philippoussis for temporarily turning his back on the Davis Cup.

Welcome back, Jelena Dokic, whose biggest sin was being loyal to her father, the very demure Damir.

518 Posts
What a great read!

I vote for forgiveness. Go back to Australia, Jelena.


44,018 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
mmcdonald said:
interesting article

hey, where do you get all these from anyway :p
Someone else asked me a while ago.

I go to
Tennis Week
Tennis Reporters
WTA Fans

mostly those ones

Premium Member
27,114 Posts
When I read that article I fely sorry for Jelena as well. I suppose it all hinges on whether you believe she did everything out of loyalty to her father or not - whether she was a naive trusting daughter or not.

4,910 Posts
i'm in general agreement with the author of the article in that feuds that drag on and on serve no-one

however i'm in no doubt that the uber-babe still does host some resentment towards the Aussie media and their governing body and her current boycott of playing over there is her doing and not daddy's

but this can't last forever, and i feel confident that she WILL play IN Australia next year, whether she will play FOR Australia is another matter

this season has been a nightmare for her and there's every possibility that she could finish in the 15-20 bracket - if that happens then SHE=FUCKED coz the way tournaments are laid out, top ten players have it pretty sweet

with yuor average Tier 2/3 event, a top tenner usually gets a bye and often their 2nd round opponent is someone lowly ranked and it's only until maybe the semi or even the final that they come up against a Serena/Venus/blah

but, when yuo're ranked 16 and below, it's a different situation - yuo don't get a bye and even thou yuo're playing well, yuo can still suffer an early exit coz yuo've been drawn to meet Serena/Venus/blah in an earlier round instead of the semi

so......IF Dokic does drop to 16 or lower by the end of this season, the opportunity to pick up a ton of points by playing the opening Australian season (remember, she has no points to defend) will be too much of a temptation and she will overcome her 'differences' with Oz - furthermore, if i'm thinking of this, i'm pretty damn sure her new coach will and i'm sure he will do his best to make the uber-babe see sense - and if she does and she plays Oz, i recken that all this 'bad blood' between her and certain sections of the Oz public and media will eventually be forgotten


- Car Key Boi
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