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It was a tale as old as time. Abusive father trying to ride on the coattails of a daughter’s talent. Daughter goes on deep end after pressure and constant abuse. Girl finds prince charming who helps her come to terms with her demons. This was the life of Jelena Dokic.
So goes the story of Dokic, who peaked at No. 4 in the ATP Rankings. The then 16-year-old shocked the world with a huge upset over then world champion Martina Hingis in the 1999 Wimbledon. It was unheard of, even to this time, where a No. 1 lost to a qualifier in the championship.
While playing professional tennis, she only earned a purse of $4.4 million before her career was cut short by injury.
If she were not harangued with constant verbal and physical abuse by his father, what would have happened?
“I think maybe I could have reached world No. 1 and won Grand Slams,” she narrated to USA Today. “I don’t know. But I feel for sure I could have been a consistent top-five or top-10 player.”
The antics of her father, Damir, were well documented when Dokic’s star was rising in the late 90s to early 2000s. There were the time he attended her tennis tournaments drunk, and distracting opponents at every turn. There were times when he was physically escorted out of the court by security, or when he insulted women tennis fans.
Dokic said that she suffered from depression because of her father. At one point, she almost leaped out out of the window of her apartment in Monte Carlo, 30 stories up.
Now, the 34-year-old is happy with her prince charming, Tin Bikic, and they’ve been together 14 years now. Jelena’s only regret? She should have written her memoir, titled Unbreakable, sooner. “ I wish I could have done it while I was still playing. It has brought me a lot of peace, at last.”