Former WTA player Jelena Dokic has described experiencing severe abuse from her father, Damir Dokic, as a child and then a teenager on tour.
Dokic has just released a book, Unbreakable, discussing her career and hardships. The former No. 4 broke with Damir, who was also her coach, in 2002, and publicly spoke about his abuse in 2009.
“He beat me really badly,” she said in an interview with News Corp, describing an encounter that left her unconscious. “It basically started day one of me playing tennis… [and happened] almost on a daily basis.”
Dokic said she was hit with a shoe and a belt, and also subjected to name-calling and expletives.
“Whether it was hitting, pulling my ears or whether it was just verbally abusing me and saying the most vile things to an 11 or 12-year-old,” she said, adding that “not just the physical pain but the emotional…hurt me the most.”
There were several publicized instances of Damir Dokic’s unruly behavior while Dokic was on tour, including threats against public officials. It also appeared that in 2000, when Jelena was not allowed to return to her hotel room and spent a night on a couch at the All England Club.
But Dokic adds another incident at the Montreal event in 2000, referring to being beaten, kicked in the shins, and becoming unconscious. She was also forced to change her Australian nationality, but returned to the country in 2002. Even when she left his influence, Dokic said Damir repeatedly contacted her to return.
Following her career, Dokic said she had re-established contact with Damir, but his inability to “take responsibility” meant they could not have a normal relationship.
The 34-year-old recently returned to the game as a commentator for Australian television.