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
Tuesday June 17, 2003
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
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
"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 - http://sport.guardian.co.uk/tennis/
"Obata Dumps Dokic From Eastbourne"
Tennis Week Magazine, USA
17th June, 2002
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
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
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 Week.com 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 Week.com's primary
writer from Wimbledon.
copyright Tennis Week, 2003 - A Sports Media Network Web Site
The Interview article quoted from the Tennis Week website - http://www.sportsmediainc.net/tennisweek/