Tennis: Wimbledon 99 - Daddy's girl beats top seed

THE ONLY reason most people had heard of 16-year-old tennis player Jelena Dokic before yesterday was because her father, Damir, was arrested for unruly behaviour after being ejected from the recent DFS Classic in Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Today, the Belgrade-born Australian is a celebrity in her own right after trouncing Martina Hingis, the world No 1, in the first round of the Wimbledon women's singles. Her 6-2, 6-0 victory is only the third time in Wimbledon history that a top seed has lost an opening match.

Hingis, 18, is in good company. A similar fate befell Margaret Smith in 1962, when the great Australian was given a bye in the first round and lost in the second round to Billie Jean Moffitt (now Billie Jean King). And in 1994 Steffi Graf was defeated in the first round by the American Lori McNeil when the German was both top seed and defending champion.

Dokic's father watched proudly as his daughter dismantled Hingis who, as a 16- year-old in 1997, became the youngest Wimbledon singles champion of the century. "Since I came off the court I have spoken to Dad for five minutes, and he was out of words," Dokic said. "Dad has helped me a lot, watching my matches and being there to help me work on my game. He's been a big influence on me."

Hingis's mother and coach, Melanie Molitor, who took her to Switzerland from the Czech Republic at the age of seven, was missing from the courtside for the first time in her prodigious daughter's career.

Hingis told her mother she wanted to be on her own for Wimbledon after the tantrums the player succumbed to at the French Open. After her defeat in the final by Graf she had to be brought back on court by her mother for the presentations.