Tennis: Lucic flees `abusive' father

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THE CROATIAN tennis player Mirjana Lucic has fled her native country after accusing her father of being abusive.

"Beatings... there have been more of them than anyone can imagine," the 16-year-old Lucic told the newspaper, Slobodna Dalmacija. "Sometimes it was because of the lost game, in other cases for the lost set. I don't want to even say what happened after the matches I lost."

Marinko Lucic, who was also his daughter's coach and adviser, denied the accusations that he mistreated her because of sporting failure: "If I slammed her, that was because she didn't behave nicely, never because of tennis."

She is seeking a restraining order to prevent her father from interfering with her at the US Open next week, where she plays Kristie Boogert of the Netherlands in the first round.

"When I was beaten in Wimbledon and when father attacked mother, I decided to start a new life," Lucic said. "May this US Open be my new beginning."

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