Dokic still in a spin figuring out her father

Inevitable questions about jailed parent add to anguish of defeat for former world No 4

Perhaps it was the sight of Centre Court towering behind her that brought on the dizziness that did for Jelena Dokic out on Court Seven here yesterday. It was almost exactly 10 years ago, as a 16-year-old bursting with the confidence of youth, that Dokic created one of the greatest shocks in Wimbledon history with her 6-2, 6-0 victory over Martina Hingis, the world No 1 and top seed.

It might equally have been the thought of the questions that would inevitably follow her first-round match against Germany's Tatjana Malek, Dokic's first in the main draw here for five years. The Australian lost 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 after an uncharacteristically limp display during which she called for the trainer and doctor after feeling light-headed.

Dokic has spent most of her professional lifetime dealing with media inquiries about her controversial father, Damir, and they are not going to stop even though he is currently in a Serbian prison, having been sentenced to 15 months in jail for his latest outrage, when he made death threats against the Australian ambassador in Belgrade. He was arrested last month after local media reports quoted him as saying he would "attack the ambassador and her husband with a Stinger missile".

Ever since Jelena walked out on her father in 2002, a year after the family had returned from Australia to their native Serbia, there have been occasional rumours of a reconciliation. The latest surfaced only last week as she practised in Eastbourne.

"I've said it a million times," Dokic sighed yesterday when the subject of her father was raised. "I have absolutely nothing at all to do with him, so I don't see why people would think that I would reunite with my dad when every single question I answer is about me not doing that.

"I don't understand where all these articles come from, but it's OK. Now and for ever, there is no way that I would ever reunite with him or ever have a relationship with him."

Dokic looked as if she had the world on her shoulders, a far cry from that June day 10 years ago when she beat Hingis here, having had to fight her way through qualifying even to make the main draw. She reached the quarter-finals that year, went one better 12 months later before losing to Lindsay Davenport in the semi-finals and climbed to No 4 in the world rankings.

Damir accompanied his daughter to tournaments early in her career, but his behaviour became increasingly bizarre and confrontational towards officials. The family had moved to Australia from Serbia when she was a child but returned after Damir fell out with the Australian authorities in 2001, after which she briefly pledged her future allegiance to Serbia-Montenegro.

Jelena walked out on her family the following year. Her results started to tail off in 2003 and for more than three years she hardly played on the main circuit. She later revealed that she had suffered severe depression and problems with her weight.

"I was at a point where I don't know if I could have got any lower," she said yesterday. "When you're battling depression, when you're overweight and haven't touched a racket for six months or a year, you really don't care any more.

"Then I was actually thinking about what I might do with my life, because I made a decision at the time not to play, and then, out of nowhere, six months later, I thought I'd just try to pick up a racket and play for fun for myself. It turned into something different. I got that desire back. I thought I might give this another try."

Having started a comeback last year, Dokic beat two top 20 players at this year's Australian Open en route to the quarter-finals, where she lost in three sets to Dinara Safina, the eventual runner-up.

At the recent French Open she was a set and a break up against Elena Dementieva, the Olympic champion and world No 4, before suffering a back injury that forced her retirement. "I think that maybe actually took more out of me mentally, and I wasn't able to recover," Dokic said. "I haven't played any grass-court matches coming into Wimbledon."

During the Australian Open Damir talked of flying to Melbourne to see his daughter, but Jelena insisted she never wanted to see him again. His latest misdemeanours were outrageous even by his standards. Following his death threats to the Australian ambassador, police raided Damir's house and found two hand grenades and 20 bullets for which he had no permit, in addition to seven hunting rifles and a handgun which he owned legally.

Jelena was asked yesterday when she last attended a press conference at which she was asked only about tennis. "Never, unfortunately," she said, a look of resignation spreading across her face.

Tour terror: Trouble with Damir

Edgbaston 1999 Ejected from the tournament after drunkenly accusing officials of being Nazis who supported the bombing of Yugoslavia. Then laid down in front of the traffic.

Wimbledon 2000 Thrown out for causing disturbance and stamping on a journalist's telephone.

US Open 2000 Went into a rage over the price of a piece of salmon and was escorted off premises. Accused a senior official of being "a Communist" and was suspended from the tour for six months.

Australian Open 2006 Reported to have threatened revenge for Jelena's decision to return to Australia by dropping a nuclear bomb on Sydney and kidnapping her.

Serbia 2009 Reacted angrily to interview in which Jelena accused him of beating her. "There is no child that was not beaten by parents," he said. Jailed for 15 months for making death threats to the Australian ambassador.

Sport
premier leagueLive: All the latest news and scores from today's matches
News
politics
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker