I don’t know what you were doing at the age of 17, but I was generally getting up to no good.
Imagine, then, making the Wimbledon semi-finals at that age, and then being berated by your father and left to sleep in a changing room.
In her new autobiography, ‘Unbreakable’, Jelena Dokic details just how intense the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father was, and some of it makes for difficult reading.
CNN gave it the once over, and here’s the passage about her Wimbledon exploits back in 2000, when she lost in the semi-final to American Lindsay Davenport:
…the now 35-year-old Croatian-born Australian details how she was left inside the grounds of the All England Club by her father, Damir Dokic.
When she finally got through to him on the phone, the horrific abuse she says she suffered since the age of six started again.
“The dull slur in his slow, loud voice tells me he is drunk,” Dokic writes. “I know this tone; it’s the tone of white wine and probably a few glasses of whisky. He is angry. Furious that I lost. His voice booms down the phone, ‘You are pathetic, you are a hopeless cow, you are not to come home. You are an embarrassment. You can’t stay at our hotel.'”
…She then hid away in the players’ lounge until she was discovered at 11 p.m. by a cleaner, who alerted the Wimbledon referee, Alan Mills. He called her management, who put her up for the night in a house they were renting close to the grounds.
“I have just made the semifinals of Wimbledon,” Dokic writes. “But in my father’s eyes I am not good enough to come home.”
Yip – complete and utter trash.
I had parents who would drive out to Paarl to watch me play rugby, knowing full well that us souties would get thrashed, and then talk about it being a good day out.
Back to Dokic and the monster who tormented her:
Dokic says she suffered years of abuse at the hands of her father, ranging from being spat at to beatings with a leather belt, being kicked and being called “slut” and “whore” when she was a teenager.
One of the worst beatings came during the du Maurier Open in Canada in 2000, when her father struck her so hard after a defeat that she lost consciousness, she details in her book…
Although the world’s media soon labeled [sic] her father the “tennis dad from hell” as he managed to get himself thrown out of three of the four majors for his aggressive behavior, very few people working in tennis tried to help.
Instead, Dokic was forced to publicly defend her father in press conferences, which led to a strained relationship with the media.
It’s incredible to think that, despite what was going on behind the scenes, Dokic managed to make it all the way to being ranked fourth in the world.
Sadly her career would take a nosedive after she cut ties with Damir, suffering from severe depression, and having had most of her $4,5 million in winnings snatched by her father.
These days Dokic divides her time between television commentary and motivational speaking, and is also starting a foundation to raise awareness about domestic violence.
Oh, and there is zero chance of reconciliation with Damir:
In 2009, Damir Dokic was jailed for 15 months, later reduced to one year, for threatening to blow up Australia’s ambassador to Serbia unless his daughter’s claims of abuse in an interview with Australia’s Sport & Style magazine were not retracted.
“I did try to reconcile a few times,” she said. “I absolutely tried everything and it just wasn’t possible…I find it hard to have any kind of communication with him, he’s a very difficult person and also doesn’t think he did anything wrong and can’t really even apologize. It’s kind of hard to go on from there,” she said.
Sometimes you just gotta wave trash goodbye.
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