Jelena Dokic has lived a very extraordinary life in her34 years. From the outside world, she seemed to have the perfect life story. She was a refugee turned world number four on the international tennis circuit. By 16, she had defeated world number one Martina Hingis at Wimbledon. But from the inside, Jelena was struggling.
This is an extract from Jelena’s first book UNBREAKABLE.
I don’t know where my dad is. I’m standing in the plush Wimbledon players’ lounge waiting, looking around for him: we’re due to go out for a nice dinner with my managers, Ivan and John. I am seventeen years old and I have just played in the semi-ﬁnals. Of Wimbledon.
Surely, you’d think, he would be okay that I got this far at the All England Club. You would think. At the end of the match, as I shook Lindsay’s hand, I looked up to the stands and saw my father bolt out of his green seat, nothing but the back of his burly frame rushing from Wimbledon’s Centre Court. Usually after my matches, he stands around somewhere near the players’ lounge and I have to ﬁnd him. But today there’s neither sight nor sound of him. I called his mobile after I ﬁnished my press duties and he didn’t pick up.
Jelena Dokic talks to Mia Freedman on the No Filter podcast about when her father started abusing her:
This has been my greatest run ever in a grand slam and I want to know what he’ll say and to organise how we will get to dinner with Ivan and John. So I call him again, and this time, ﬁnally, he picks up.
The dull slur in his slow, loud voice tells me he is drunk. I know this tone; it’s the tone of white wine and probably a few glasses of whisky. He is angry. Furious that I lost. His voice booms down the phone. ‘You are pathetic, you are a hopeless cow, you are not to come home. You are an embarrassment. You can’t stay at our hotel.’
‘But, Dad …’ I say quietly, trying to plead with him.
‘You need to go and ﬁnd somewhere else to sleep,’ he yells at the top of his voice. ‘Stay at Wimbledon and sleep there somewhere … Or wherever else. I don’t care.’