Abusive dad made Aussie prodigy sleep at Wimbledon
FORMER world No 4 Jelena Dokic has told how her abusive father banished her from their hotel after she lost the 2000 Wimbledon semi-final against Lindsay Davenport. Former Wimbledon referee Alan Mills found her on a sofa in the player lounge at 11pm that night after being tipped off by a cleaner. He then had to arrange for her to be taken to a nearby house rented by her management company. This is one of many stories she related about her father Damir in her autobiography, which has highlighted the behaviour of the most notorious tennis parent in modern times. ‘You are an embarrassment. You can’t stay at our hotel,’ she recalls him saying after the SW19 defeat, while drunk, in her newly-published autobiography Unbreakable. ‘You need to go and find somewhere else to sleep, stay at Wimbledon and sleep there somewhere. Or wherever else. I don’t care.’ Already that year he had been temporarily thrown out of Wimbledon for hurling a journalist’s mobile phone on the floor. Jelena related how he also used to beat and whip her, while also calling her a ‘slut’ and a ‘whore’ before she managed to break away from him two years later when she was still only 19. Her father was banned from the circuit in 2000 for six months, but not before a subsequent incident in Canada, where she tells of how he beat her so badly that she fainted. In 2009 he was jailed for a year in Serbia for threatening the Australian ambassador. Dokic retired early before coming back in 2009 and then finally quitting in 2014. Her case was among those which have led to a tightening of player-welfare rules on the WTA Tour. AT the Nitto ATP Finals in London, the slowly fulfilling talent of Grigor Dimitrov got his group campaign off to a winning start when he beat Austria’s Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 in a battle of two elegant single-handed backhands. Jamie Murray and Brazilian partner Bruno Soares had a disappointing opening when they went down 7-5, 6-7, and 10-8 in a sudden-death ‘champions’ tiebreak against veteran American twins Bob and Mike Bryan. The forgiving nature of the round-robin format means they still have hope of qualifying for the semi-finals, but they were disappointed to lose a 5-3 lead in the first set.