Former Australian tennis player Jelena Dokic has levelled shocking allegations of abuse and violence at her father Damir.
In her new memoir Unbreakable, the now 34-year-old detailed the emotional and physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her father in the years she tried to crack into the professional tennis circuit.
“He beat me really badly,” Dokic told The Sunday Telegraph, adding the abuse began from the moment she picked up a tennis racket, later “spirall[ing] out of control”.
Dokic said as the years went on, it wouldn’t take much to trigger a violent episode from her father, saying it could come from “a mediocre training session (or) a loss, a bad mood”.
She says he would spit in her face, pull her hair and kick her in the shins.
“[The beatings] happened almost on a daily basis, but I also struggled with the emotional situation,” she told the paper. “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.”
The former tennis star moved to Australia in 1994 with her parents from the family's home in Yugoslavia.
However, it's not the first time Dokic has made these allegations in public regarding her father. Eight years ago, she vaguely touched on the abuse she suffered as a child in an interview with Fairfax.
"I've been through a lot worse than anybody on the tour. I can say that with confidence.
"When you go through stuff like that, playing a tennis match is a pretty easy thing to do. … When I win today it's so much more satisfying."
In 2009, her father was jailed for 15 months for threatening to blow up the Australian ambassador to Serbia and possessing illegal weapons.
He had told Serbian media earlier that year he would blow up the Australian ambassador to Serbia if she did nothing to stop Australian media reports that he had beaten his daughter when she was younger.
At the time, Damir Dokic admitted to hitting his daughter, telling the Serbian newspaper, Vecernje Novosti it was "for her sake".
"If I was ever a little bit more aggressive towards Jelena, it was for her sake.
"When I was young I was beaten by my parents," Mr Dokic said, "and I am now thankful to them for that because that helped me to become the right person.
"Anyway, is there any parent who didn't do that at least once or twice, of course - for the sake of their children and their future."