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still underage when
hanks to her father Damir, Jelena Dokic has had a notoriously strained relationship with the media. From coverage of him threatening US Open staff over the price of fish, to drunkenly smashing a reporter��s phone at Wimbledon or claiming the Australian Open draw was rigged against her, the media have been happy to embrace Damir as an oafish buffoon, ripe fodder for a click-bait headline or cartoon.
For a young Jelena Dokic, still underage when these incidents occurred, the reports were a source of deep shame and embarrassment �C largely because she was unable to tell the public the truth. In her biography Unbreakable, she recounts how Damir would insist she trot out his own distorted worldviews at press conferences.��When he made all those public rants, Womens Brian Dozier Jersey I had to cover for him and say what he wanted,�� she tells the Guardian. ��I know the media thought I was a brat and arrogant. That was really hard for me, because I was actually the opposite.��
Unbeknown to most around her, Dokic was enduring unspeakable emotional and physical abuse at the hands of her father �C including regular beatings and whippings that on one occasion left her unconscious. But this side of her father remained concealed.
��The media would joke about everything he did. But it wasn��t funny. If you look at [those incidents] �C he was aggressive, he was drunk, he was scary. No one ever asked: how far does this go? What else does he do?��
At the time, she wanted to tell the truth about his abuse, but feared for her life should she do so. ��A lot of people didn��t understand me,�� she says. ��[But] I always thought, I��m going to write about this one day, I��m going to get the story out about what happened.��
And so, in a twist of fate, Dokic �C now aged 34 �C has approached the media with open arms, welcoming rather than shying away from the spotlight again. She says the public reaction to her book �C which has made headlines worldwide �C has been something of a shock, given how acclimatised she had become to the abuse.
��I knew it would be big, but I didn��t know it would get such a reaction. For me, it��s more normal than it is to other people, because I��ve lived it, dealt with it for such a long time. The support has been incredible, and I feel good [having the story out there].��
She is aware her story has prompted, and will continue to prompt, questions as to why or how others could have intervened, but Dokic wants to make clear this is not about any personal vendetta. The book was instead written to incite change for others who are experiencing family violence.
��It��s not about pointing fingers, I��m not blaming anyone. It��s about moving forward,�� she says. ��Let��s take my case and build on this, learn from this. And if we need to put things in place, let��s put them in place to make sure it doesn��t happen again, and if it does, that the right steps are taken.��
In her own case, as is typical of family violence, she said those around her had been reluctant to get involved with an issue that was ��happening behind closed doors��. ��I know it��s difficult to get involved in a family situation,�� she says. Nonetheless, Dokic believes there were people who could have, and should have, got involved.��I don��t think everybody knew, but I know some people knew. I don��t have to name people, because they know who they are. I would certainly be asking myself questions if I was in a lot of people��s shoes.��
Things spiralled for Dokic after she managed to escape her father by signing over all her earnings to him. ��People think once you leave an abusive situation you��re fine, but no, it��s just as bad. I battled, after that, with really bad depression and I almost committed suicide. I��d lost a lot of self-belief and self-confidence.
��I know the book is called Unbreakable, but in the end, he almost broke me. He really did. I was broken. All I wanted and needed was a kind word from someone. I just wanted someone to come talk to me, ask me if I needed anything. [But] people weren��t there.��
Part of the difficulty with Dokic��s story is that her father insisted on her switching allegiances to Serbia in 2000, just after she had lost a bronze medal match to Monica Seles in the Sydney Olympics, where she was an Australian ambassador. This move would isolate her from the country she had come to call home, and the few supporters she had, including Paul McNamee, who she described as ��exceptional��.It was in the same year that Dokic endured one of her most Womens Brian Dozier Jersey painful moments �C being jeered on court at the Australian Open. Despite describing it in her book as ��the worst moment not only of my career but my life��, Dokic does not blame the Australian public. ��It was justified [the booing]. From the fans�� point of view, leaving the country and playing for someone else �C it��s a betrayal.
��That was very hard for me �C but it was my father who put me through that. That��s why I saw that decision as so outrageous, and I was so sad and angry that my father made me do that. If there��s one thing in my life and career I could change �C this would be the one. I always felt Australian, I would never have left.����I��m not saying Australia is racist, or everybody is racist, but when I came Womens Brian Dozier Jersey to Australia, I was told by junior players to ��go back to where I came from��. Parents tried to argue that I wasn��t eligible for scholarships or funding, when I was No1 in every single age group.��
Representing Serbia, Dokic was seen as a ��traitor�� in the eyes of her compatriots �C most notably her tennis peers �C and again experienced isolation and exclusion, even when she returned to Australia of her own volition in 2005.
��I heard someone on the tennis scene in Australia say they wouldn��t have allowed me to come back to Australia let alone play the Australian Open or get a wildcard, and I knew some people felt that way.
��I would��ve loved to have talked to some people, to get them to understand, even be friends. But they, to be completely honest, didn��t give me a chance. I guess that was easier for them �C to judge the situation �C but in the end they had no idea. All those things led to me feeling like I wasn��t accepted by certain people, and ultimately my depression and almost committing suicide.��

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