Do­kic aces health bat­tle, rel­ishes re­turn to ten­nis

Sunday Herald Sun - - Front Page - pe­ter.rolfe @rolfep EX­CLU­SIVE PE­TER ROLFE

FOR­GOT­TEN Aussie ten­nis star Jelena Do­kic has spo­ken of her hopes of win­ning over the sport­ing pub­lic yet again, af­ter over­com­ing ill­ness and qui­etly mov­ing back to Melbourne.

Af­ter bat­tling a thy­roid prob­lem and di­vid­ing her time be­tween Aus­tralia and her na­tive Ser­bia, Do­kic has de­cided to call Melbourne home for good and will em­bark on a ca­reer in ten­nis coach­ing and com­men­tary.

“Ob­vi­ously, since the ca­reer stopped, I’ve had a few quiet years and I’ve been off the radar a lit­tle bit which has been ac­tu­ally quite good,’’ she told the Sun­day Her­ald Sun.

“I’m get­ting back in the swing of things and get­ting back into some stuff in ten­nis.’’

The 33-year-old will be­gin coach­ing chil­dren’s clin­ics and play a cor­po­rate host­ing role at the Kooy­ong Clas­sic next week.

“It should be great be­cause it’s an amaz­ing event,’’ she said.

It’s in the com­men­tary box at the Aus­tralian Open, from Jan­uary 16-29, where she hopes to serve a ca­reer ace.

Do­kic, who rose as high as No. 4 in the sin­gles rank­ings, will join Ten­nis Aus­tralia’s world feed team and will present ex­pert anal­y­sis for Fox Sports.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited about that. I haven’t re­ally com­men­tated a huge deal, def­i­nitely not sin­gles matches,’’ she said.

Do­kic, whose ca­reer drew al­most as many head­lines for the boor­ish be­hav­iour of her dad Damir as her pre­co­cious tal­ent, said she was drawn to com­men­tary af­ter a test run at Wim­ble­don dur­ing her play­ing days.

“It’s some­thing that I re­ally like and I think I’ve got a pretty good in­sight,’’ she said.

“So it’s just about putting it to­gether ... I know what it’s like to come out and play in front of 15,000 peo­ple or to give some in­sight into what the play­ers may be go­ing through.’’

Do­kic said she had kept an eye on ten­nis dur­ing her time away from the game and had coached in­ter­mit­tently.

But she has bat­tled ill­ness and strug­gled to find her place in the ten­nis world since re­tir­ing in 2014, af­ter a ca­reer which saw her reach the semis at Wim­ble­don and quar­ters of the Aus­tralian and French Opens.

“I got a lit­tle bit sick so I had to take some time off,’’ she said.

“I had a thy­roid con­di­tion that I had to deal with for the last 18 months.

“It’s got bet­ter in the last few months and I’m all good and all clear now, but I had to deal with the af­ter­math of that.

“I’m just get­ting into the swing of things and look­ing into a lot of projects over the sum­mer in ten­nis in Aus­tralia. It’s a bat­tle and it re­ally af­fects your health.

“You re­ally need to get healthy, to get bet­ter be­cause it af­fects your me­tab­o­lism and your weight.

“I love the game so much, which is a pos­i­tive thing, and I still want to do things that are part of ten­nis.’’

For­mer Aussie ten­nis star Jelena Do­kic says she will en­joy coach­ing and com­men­tat­ing af­ter a long break. Pic­ture: EUGENEHYLAND

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