Jelena Dokic Tour Results: Interviews and Articles

The 2003 Hastings Direct International Championships in Eastbourne, Great Britain
Singles 1st Round on 17th June, 2003
Saori Obata def. Jelena Dokic, 6-3, 6-1.

"Wandering Dokic returns to her turf"
Guardian Unlimited, UK
17th June, 2003
Guardian Unlimited - Sport - Tennis

   Wandering Dokic returns to her turf 

   Grass is greener for the young Serb free of her father's grip 

   Eleanor Preston
   Tuesday June 17, 2003
   The Guardian 

   There are some players who, despite being barely out of their teens, seem 
   to have been around forever. Jelena Dokic is only 20 but she has been a 
   touring pro for five years and would probably argue that she has seen 
   enough in that time to last her a couple of decades. 

   Her teenage years were spent either watching her bumptious father Damir 
   creating a furore or making excuses for him when he did. But after years 
   of being sidetracked by his outbursts, Dokic broke away from him at the 
   end of last year, a decision most observers deemed essential for her 
   career as well as her sanity. 

   Now that, in her words, "he's not a distraction any more", Dokic says 
   that, professionally and personally, she is at last finding her voice. 
   That new-found independence has come at a cost though, and has lead to a 
   string of mediocre results this year. Having recently split with Steffi 
   Graf's former coach Heinz GŁnthardt in favour of the little known Croatian 
   Barna Bikic, Dokic will be hoping things change at Wimbledon. 

   Dokic reportedly could not cope with GŁnthardt's disciplinarian approach. 
   There were signs that all was not well with their relationship, which 
   began at the start of this year, after her second-round exit at the French 
   Open three weeks ago. 

   No doubt Bikic will be taking a more gentle approach but he can hardly 
   argue with the raw material he has to work with - the conspicuous gifts 
   that took Dokic to No4 in the world and into a Wimbledon semi-final in 
   2000. She is now No11. 

   It is no coincidence that her best grand slam result came on the lawns of 
   SW19, where her ground strokes are at their most penetrative and her 
   naturally aggressive instincts are often rewarded. In 1999, as a 
   16-year-old qualifier, she turned her sport's hierarchy on its head by 
   steamrolling the tournament's top seed Martina Hingis 6-2, 6-0 in the 
   first round. 

   Ironically, the scene of her biggest win was also where her father's 
   antics reached their embarrassing nadir when he had to be escorted off the 
   premises after smashing a television reporter's mobile phone during an 
   incoherent, angry and very public rant. 

   "I've done well at Wimbledon in the past," says Dokic, trying as always to 
   steer conversation away from her father's antics and back to the tennis. 
   "I think I've put all those things behind me so I don't really think about 
   that when I play there." 

   Dokic may not be saying the same after the 2003 championships but, 
   whatever her results in the coming weeks, she says she is taking a 
   long-term view. 

   "I got to a level where I was very satisfied," she says. "I was four in 
   the world but I knew I could get a lot more out of my game than I was 
   getting. I just wanted to see what I can do. 

   "Of course I'm not playing now like I did before and that might be a 
   little bit frustrating because things don't come straight away, but I 
   think long term it will be better for me. It might not come this year, but 
   I think eventually it will show and I'll be more satisfied later on. 

   "It's difficult for me because I don't like to lose but I don't expect too 
   much from this year. But I'm sure, you know, later on it will help me and 
   make me a better person. I think this year I'll be maturing on and off the 

   That off-court maturity manifests itself in the shape of her boyfriend, 
   the Brazilian racing driver Enrique Bernoldi. His arrival in Dokic's life, 
   this time last year, marked the beginning of her move away from her father 
   and he has clearly been a confidant and a catalyst for change. Not 
   surprisingly Damir Dokic does not view him as son-in-law material, which 
   presumably makes him all the more attractive to his daughter. 

   "I think we're very similar people and it helps if you have someone who 
   does something similar, especially if he's in sport," she says of 
   Bernoldi, who lost his place in formula one when the Arrows team went 
   bust. "He doesn't interfere in my tennis too much, but if I lose it's 
   sometimes not easy and he understands that. Neither of us likes to lose - 
   we're both the same in that regard. 

   "He knows how to deal with things better and because he's been in my 
   position before he helps a little bit. And he's older than me, so he's 
   been through a lot more. It's good to have someone like that." 

   As the pieces of Dokic's new life start to fall into place there is still 
   one important decision she has yet to make - which country to play for. 
   The move from Australia back to Yugoslavia - although she divides her time 
   now largely between Florida and Monte Carlo - is one she clearly regrets 
   and there are signs that she may return down under. A switch to Britain, 
   mooted by her father last year, now appears just another one of his idle 

   At least Dokic does not have to explain those away any more. "You know, 
   I'm not where I was and I'm not where I want to be," she says, sounding 
   rather too philosophical for a 20-year-old. "It's just a different stage 
   of my life right now because in my tennis career - and in everything else 
   too - I needed to change." 

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003

The interview article quoted from the Guardian Unlimited website -

"Obata Dumps Dokic From Eastbourne"
Tennis Week Magazine, USA
17th June, 2002
Tennis Week

   Obata Dumps Dokic From Eastbourne

   By Brad Falkner

   Jelena Dokic might be able to relate to Bill Murray's 
   character from the movie Ground Hog Day. Dokic's recurring 
   on-court nightmare continued today as 87th-ranked qualifier 
   Saori Obata dumped Dokic, 6-3, 6-1, from the Hastings Direct 
   International Championships in Eastbourne, England in a 
   45-minute mismatch.

   After losing the first set Dokic went into her all too 
   familiar flight pattern - a heavy tailspin - without a 
   parachute as she bailed out of the second set in dropping the 
   next five games to fall behind 0-5. 

   On match point, a disinterested Dokic dumped a routine 
   forehand into the top of the net. 

   A disconsolate Dokic said she's seen the story before and it 
   ends the same way - in defeat.

   "It's difficult when you have the same match again and again," 
   Dokic lamented after the match. "It's the same story that it's 
   been all year - I haven't played well."

   The conditions were ideal for an upset as swirling winds and 
   the unpredictable bounces of any grass court came into play. 

   Though Dokic connected on 80 percent of her first serves for 
   the two sets, she only managed to hold serve once - in the 
   sixth game - for the match.

   Ranked as high as No. 4 last year, Dokic looked lost at times 
   during rallies. Struggling to find her rhythm off the ground, 
   she couldn't consistently find the court as her unforced 
   errors piled up faster than a college student's unpaid parking 
   tickets at the end of the semester. 

   Dokic - who recently parted company with her highly-respected 
   coach Heinz Gunthardt, who formerly coached Steffi Graf - 
   believes her problems are mental rather than technical.

   "I'm training hard, I'm doing all the work on and off the 
   court and I think that my game has improved a lot," Dokic 
   said. "My game in practice is fine. My confidence is low, that 
   doesn't help."

   The 2000 Wimbledon semifinalist, who is now working with good 
   friend Barna Bilik from Croatia (no language barrier there), 
   cited communication issues and Gunthardt's limited ability to 
   travel with her as the primary reasons for the split.

   "He was not able to travel with me," Dokic said. "He could 
   only travel for 20 weeks. I need somebody every week."

   Despite today's disappointing defeat, Dokic remains positive 
   about her chances at Wimbledon this year drawing upon her 
   previous semifinal and quarterfinal success at the All England 
   Club as her cause for optimism. 

   "I think I will feel much better there," said Dokic, who will 
   face British wild card Elena Baltacha in the first round of 
   Wimbledon. "My first round match will be important. I have 
   played well in the past at Wimbledon when I have been 

   In the second round, Obata's second-round opponent will be 
   Anna Pistolesi, who earlier today defeated last week's 
   Birmingham semifinalist Eleni Daniilidou 6-2, 7-6(2).

   Tennis writer Brad Falkner is covering the Eastbourne 
   tournament for this site. Please visit the site daily to read 
   Brad's reports. An accomplished tennis writer and teaching 
   pro, Brad has traveled around the world covering both the ATP 
   and WTA Tours and will serve as Tennis's primary 
   writer from Wimbledon.

copyright Tennis Week, 2003 - A Sports Media Network Web Site

The Interview article quoted from the Tennis Week website -