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Jelena Dokic recounts the horrific abuse she endured at the hands of her father

By Stephanie Nuzzo November 14, 2017
Jelena Dokic Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

Warning: this article deals with distressing content

Former Aussie tennis champion Jelena Dokic has spoken out about the years of harrowing abuse she lived through in an intimate interview with Carrie Bickmore on The Project

The 34-year-old sporting star, who is now a tennis coach and columnist, spoke about the disturbing reality of her teenage years with her father where abuse and insult were commonplace:

“You get to a stage after that happening for a couple of years where it’s just your everyday life and you accept it as being, let’s say, normal.” Dokic told Bickmore.

“That’s what my life was about, that’s what I had to deal with literally on a day-to-day basis.”

“There was always something even if it at times wasn’t physical, which was very rare, it was emotional. There was always something that I didn’t do right.”

jelena dokic network ten

In her book Unbreakable, Dokic recounts being kicked in the head until rendered unconscious, being told she wasn’t allowed to come home after losing the Wimbledon semi-final at just 17 years old and constantly being called a “wh*re”, “hopeless cow” and “dirty bi*ch”. 

“It was tough because I was growing up, I was 17 or 18 and it wasn’t stopping and I knew that he was motivated by money and I constantly tried to play well and earn more which I was doing well, but it wasn’t enough.

“I was really breaking down inside and it was so tough for me to play a professional sport that is very brutal.”

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It wasn’t until her father forced her to abandon Australia to play for Yugoslavia that Dokic decided to make the brave decision to leave, however. 

“This was something that really, I was very angry about and I still am to this day. It was just so disrespectful and ungrateful because my career was funded by Australia and everything that was funded he turned his back to that and made me do the same.”

“I left with just my racquet bag and my suitcase and that was it. I had no money, no credit card. I signed everything over to him a couple of months earlier, I think he thought that I was too scared probably to do it and that I would always stay no matter what,” she said.

While her story has, at times, been a heart-breaking one, Dokic says she doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for her. In her book she shares:

“I am luckier than most. Healthy. No longer a victim. I am a survivor. And I will always find a way.”

Image: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images, Network Ten

If you or someone you know is being abused there is help out there. Contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.​