Dokic back on court with Damir
Originally published on: 28/09/11 10:22
Jelena Dokic is back training under the watchful eye of hot-tempered father Damir in Serbia.
The 28-year-old Australian was pictured on court with her father on Monday, with Damir at one point reducing his daughter to fits of laughter, enough to suggest their eight-year estrangement is firmly in the past.
Today, Jelena confirmed the reports in a statement posted on the tennis Australia website:
“I would like to confirm media reports that I have reconciled with my father Damir Dokic.
“My partner Tin Bikic and I have visited my father at his home to finally put an end to our disagreement. I initiated the meeting as I want to reunite my family and allow us all to get on with our lives and be happy. This has gone on too long.
“I am in a very positive and confident frame of mind in my life and I really wanted to do this because I believe it is the right thing to do both for me and for all of my family. My father was very receptive and I believe he has changed greatly. He understands that I am my own person who makes my own decisions.
“He is now accepting of Tin and I am very pleased we have been able to sort things out. This has been a very uplifting experience for me and for my family. I am very excited about the future.”
Last year, Damir was released from jail after nearly a year behind bars for threatening to blow up the Australian Embassy in Belgrade and having an illegal cache of weapons.
With a long history of clashes with tennis officials, Damir was once kicked out of the US Open and also accused Australian Open officials of rigging the 2001 draw after his daughter drew then-world No.1 Lindsay Davenport.
In 2006, he threatened to kidnap his daughter and was eventually banned from tournaments, but father and daughter have, somehow, healed the rift.
Jelena is bidding for a return to form after a back injury, having won just one match – against Olga Govortsova at the US Open – in six since reaching the final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in June.
Father Damir, is determined to help her reach ‘the level she was once at’.
“We are all very happy. We believe the bad years are behind us,” he said.
Reacting to the news with caution, Australian coach Darren Cahill wrote on twitter: “My heart has always gone out to Jelena. If she’s happy, we’re all happy. But, this still feels awkward.”