Je­lena Dokic breaks her si­lence on be­ing whipped, abused, kicked and spat on by fa­ther Damir

Sunday Herald Sun - - FRONT PAGE - JES­SICA HAL­LO­RAN

FOR­MER ten­nis cham­pion Je­lena Dokic has bro­ken her si­lence to claim she en­dured a child­hood of hor­ren­dous vi­o­lence at the hands of her fa­ther, Damir Dokic.

In her ex­plo­sive new book, Un­break­able, Dokic has re­vealed her fa­ther whipped, beat, kicked and spat at her in a frenzy that be­gan the day she picked up a ten­nis racquet at age six and con­tin­ued un­til she es­caped the fam­ily home at 19.

“He beat me re­ally badly,” Dokic told the Sun­day Her­ald Sun in a spe­cial in­ter­view that will also air on Fox Sports.

“It ba­si­cally started day one of me play­ing ten­nis,” Dokic said. “It con­tin­ued on from there. It spi­ralled out of con­trol.”

In her book, to be re­leased to­mor­row, Dokic re­veals har­row­ing abuse at the hands of her fa­ther in­clud­ing: DAMIR Dokic whip­ping her with his leather belt be­cause of “a medi­ocre train­ing ses­sion, a loss, a bad mood”; DOKIC spit­ting in her face, pulling her hair and ears, and kick­ing her in the shins with sharp dress shoes; DOKIC un­leash­ing con­stant vile ver­bal abuse, in­clud­ing calling his teenage daugh­ter a “slut” and a “whore”.

In the book, Je­lena Dokic also re­veals she lost con­scious­ness af­ter one beat­ing, the pun­ish­ment for a first-round lost at a tour­na­ment in Mon­treal, Canada.

Dokic said she con­sid­ered sui­cide af­ter years of emo­tional and phys­i­cal abuse, and said the emo­tional abuse “hurt more” than the phys­i­cal at­tacks.

“(The beat­ings) hap­pened al­most on a daily ba­sis, but I also strug­gled with the emo­tional sit­u­a­tion,” Dokic said.

“Not just the phys­i­cal pain but the emo­tional (pain), that was the one what hurt me the most … when you are 11/12 years old and hear all those nasty things … that was more dif­fi­cult for me.”

Dokic said when she was just 17, in 2000, her fa­ther aban­doned her at Wim­ble­don af­ter her semi-fi­nal loss to Lind­say Daven­port.

“This was one of the hard­est mo­ments for me,” she said. “If I had to pick one, this was the one. If you are made to sleep at the courts …”

Even though she reached world No.4 by 19, she said her fa­ther was never sat­is­fied by her achieve­ments.

Dokic’s book also de­tails her life as a young refugee en­dur­ing ex­treme poverty, racism and bul­ly­ing af­ter the fam­ily’s ar­rival in Aus­tralia from the for­mer Yu­goslavia in 1994. She was told by an Aus­tralian player on a ju­nior ten­nis tour “go back to where you came from”, while an un­named coach said he would not have let Dokic “come back to Aus­tralia, let alone play for wild­cards”.

She opens up about the worst beat­ing, af­ter a first-round loss at the du Mau­rier Open in Canada in 2000.

“It was a re­ally nasty mem­ory that will stay with me for­ever … I ended up faint­ing,” she says. “He beat me re­ally badly.”

She added: “The bet­ter I played, the worse he got. Which is the one thing I couldn’t un­der­stand.”

In Un­break­able, Dokic de­tails Damir’s drunken be­hav­iour at Wim­ble­don and the US Open — episodes that led to the man dubbed “ten­nis dad from hell” be­ing banned from the tour for six months.

She said in the Fox Sports in­ter­view that her fa­ther’s de­ci­sion in 2001 to force her to switch na­tion­al­i­ties from Aus­tralia to Yu­goslavia was her great­est re­gret.

“If there is one thing I could take back what he did or cer­tain de­ci­sions, leave all the phys­i­cal stuff and abuse, this was the one I re­gret,” Dokic said in the Fox Sports in­ter­view.

“If I could turn back time, I would like to take back him mak­ing me switch from play­ing for Aus­tralia and play­ing for Yu­goslavia … a few

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.