Former Wimbledon semi-finalist Jelena Dokic has revelated that her father and coach abused her throughout her tennis career.
The Yugoslavia-born Australian, who was once ranked as high as fourth in the world, claims she suffered years of mental and physical abuse from her father Damir Dokic, who also coached her from an early age.
Among the allegations revealed in her new autobiography Unbreakable are that her father would whip her with a leather belt, kick her in the shins and spit in her face if she did not perform to his satisfaction in training.
“He beat me really badly,” Dokic, now 34, writes. “It basically started day one of me playing tennis. It continued on from there. It spiralled out of control.
“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 also revealed how her father berated her in a drunken rage after she lost the 2000 Wimbledon semi-final to Lindsay Davenport.
“The dull slur in his slow, loud voice tells me he is drunk,” she 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.'”
Later that same year, Damir allegedly beat his daughter to the point that she lost consciousness. The incident happened during a tournament in Canada.
“The blow to the head fells me and, as I lie on the floor he starts kicking me, he kicks me near my ear and my vision blurs,” Dokic writes.
Dokic has also pointed a finger at tennis authorities in Australia, who she says knew what was happening but did not do enough to protect her.
Tennis Australia released a statement in response, and said concerns for Dokic were reported to the police at the time.
“Some officials even went as far as lodging police complaints, which without co-operation from those directly involved, unfortunately could not be fully investigated,” it said.