Jelena Dokic’s father has long been the poster boy for crazy sports parents. Banned from the Australian Open for alleging conspiracies, kicked out of the US Open for complaining about the cost of lunch, kicked out of Wimbledon for drunkenly smashing a broadcaster’s cell phone. A French Open tantrum, and he’ll have completed the grand slam. Now we learn that his behavior was much worse than anyone realized.
Jelena Dokic says that her father Damir physically abused her while he was her coach, and that she fled her family in 2002 to escape the violence. So, you know, next time you hear an athlete complain about 6 a.m. practices, tell them to shut the hell up.
The Australian magazine SPORT&STYLE profiles Dokic’s relationship with her father this week, and she confirms what has been only whispers in tennis circles for the last decade: that Damir Dokic’s abuse crossed the line to physical violence.
“I’ve been through a lot worse than anybody on the tour. I can say that with confidence…There was a period where there was nothing that could make me happy … I wanted somebody’s else’s life.”
She credits her boyfriend Tin Bikic for supporting her, though all the while Damir Dokic told anyone who would listen that Bikic had kidnapped her. She also says that talking with Mary Pierce, who went through similar daddy issues, helped her get through it.
“Whatever has happened, good or bad, will always stay there. It makes you what you are. But I think it’s a little bit selfish [to feel sorry for yourself] … you see a person in a wheelchair and you can’t help feel, ‘Well I’m pretty lucky to be here … we are healthy, we still have our lives ahead of us … Then you feel lucky.”