Former Australian tennis star Jelena Dokic detailed alleged physical and mental abuse by her father in a new autobiography, “Unbreakable.”
In the book, excerpts of which were published in Australia’s The Sunday Telegraph, Dokic alleged that her father, Damir, beat her so badly at one point after a first-round loss in the 2000 du Maurier Open that she lost consciousness. He also allegedly would whip her with a leather belt, spit in her face and pull her hair and ears over “a mediocre training session [or] a loss, a bad mood.”
But it was the alleged mental abuse that Dokic said was even worse.
“It basically started day one of me playing tennis,” she said in the book, according to The Sunday Telegraph. “It continued on from there. It spiraled 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, now 34, won six times on the WTA Tour. Her highest career ranking was No. 4 in 2000, the same year she reached the semifinals of Wimbledon — the deepest Grand Slam run of her career. Her last professional event was in 2013.
The Sunday Telegraph said repeated requests for comment from Damir Dokic went unreturned.
This is not the first time Dokic’s father has been in the headlines.
The two had been estranged for an eight-year period ending in 2011 after a series of his embarrassing public indiscretions, including accusing Australian Open organizers of fixing the 2001 tournament draw and an ejection from Wimbledon in 2000 for being drunk and disorderly on the press balcony.
She went on to accuse him of years of humiliation and abuse as her coach.
Damir Dokic was released after serving almost a year in jail in 2010 for threatening to blow up the Australian embassy in their native Serbia and having an illegal cache of weapons at his house.