CNN.com International - World Sport |
Dokic considers step down in class
Monday, April 25, 2005 Posted: 1852 GMT (0252 HKT)
ESTORIL, Portugal -- Former world number four Jelena Dokic could step down to play in Challenger events in a bid to end her slump.
Dokic, who lost in the first round of the Estoril Open to Ukraine's Alyona Bondarenko 2-6 6-3 2-6 has plummeted down the rankings after struggling with poor form and injury.
"I went from four in the world to 444 (now 450) so I have got to start from the beginning again," the Serbian said.
"I wouldn't say I would like to go down to Challenger events but matches wise and confidence wise it could be a good thing."
Former Wimbledon semifinalist Dokic has won just two matches this season after ending last year with nine consecutive defeats.
Dokic was competing in Estoril on a WTA Silver Exemption wild card which allows former top 10 players direct entry into tour events they could not otherwise qualify for.
The 22-year-old burst on to the scene in 1999 with a victory over then world number one Martina Hingis in the first round at Wimbledon and her world ranking peaked at four in 2002.
Against Bondarenko she rallied to win the second set by taking five games in a row but made too many errors in the decider.
"My tennis isn't there so I have to build it up from the beginning like I did when I was 14," she said.
French Open champion Gaston Gaudio saved a match point to beat Jan Hernych of the Czech Republic 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-0 in the first round of the men's tournament.
Hernych had a match point serving at 5-4 in the second set, but second-seeded Gaudio fought back in the midst of winning 10 consecutive games to finish a remarkable turnaround in 2 hours, 24 minutes.
"It was very complicated but I did it and I am very happy," said the Argentine.
Heavy rain washed out all of Monday's five first-round matches at the BMW Open in Munich, with more rain forecast for the entire week.
Fifth-seeded Andrei Pavel's match against wild card Alexander Waske was the only seeded tie affected.
The top-seeded player in the 32-man draw at the clay court tournament is David Nalbandian, followed by last year's winner, Nikolay Davydenko
IOL - Sport - Tennis |
I beat myself today, says Dokic
Estoril - Jelena Dokic, a first round casualty at the Estoril Open on Monday, vowed to start again from scratch in an effort to haul herself back to the level of form that made her one of the top players in the world.
Dokic's dipping fortunes took another knock when her comeback after a seven week absence ended in misery when she was beaten 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 by Ukrainian Alyona Bondarenka.
She was so upset she refused to shake hands after the final point. *
"I need to start at the beginning, like I did when I was 14 or 15. At this stage I need match confidence," said the 2000 Wimbledon semifinalist.
'I need to start at the beginning'
The Belgrade-born 22-year-old, currently coach-less and not in a hurry to find a new one, stands 450th in the world and admits there's massive work to be done if she's to make a start at recovering her game.
"I'm not so frustrated, more disappointed," she said in defeat.
"When I was able to rally and put pressure on her, I was winning - but I couldn't keep that up.
"It was all up and down for me, but that happens. I have to learn from this and try to move on.
"I had my chances and I didn't take them - I beat myself today."
'I beat myself today'
The match was the first time Dokic had hit a ball in anger since losing in qualifying rounds in March in Indian Wells, where she injured her thigh.
Dokic, who took back her Serbia-Montenegro nationality a few years ago after quitting Australia where she learned her tennis, now has few options in the game.
She said she will play on at next week's event in Rabat, Morrocco and the week after in Prague before taking any decisions how to cure her game.
Dokic put in a solid effort in the second set against No 82 Bondarenka, losing finalist this year in Hyderabad and playing for the first time this spring in a clay-court main draw.
Dokic won the second set in a spirited fightback as she broke the Ukrainian three times while losing her serve once.
But a lack of match fitness showed in the third, with Dokic falling to 2-3 on a double-fault and producing two serving mistakes in succession to drop to 2-5.
Two consecutive forehand errors a game later from the listless former top five standout brought a premature end to her comeback.
Sixth-seeded Dally Randriantefy of Madagascar moved into the second round at the Estadio Nacional over Portugal's Nueza Silva 6-2, 6-2.
Italian Flavia Pennetta heads the field as top seed, with a pair of young hopes with brothers who starred in the game - Dinara Safin, sister of Marat Safin, and Michaella Krajicek, half-sister of 1996 Wimbledon winner Richard - also in the mix. - Sapa-AFP
Published on the Web by IOL on 2005-04-26 09:10:26
© Independent Online 2004. All rights reserved.
* A Portuguese tennis fan (named Razorkid), who watched the match in the stadium, posted
a comment on the message board of the Jelena-dokic.com as follows: "She shook hands with Bondarenko after the match was
finished and after they left court. Jelena (already outside) waited for Bondarenko and congratulate her for the win...
The one that she didn't shake hands with was the referee." |
Sydney Morning Herald Online - Sport - Tennis|
I'd love to come back, says desperate Dokic
By Bill Scott
May 1, 2005
As her tennis dream spins out of control, former world No.4 Jelena Dokic is considering a return to Australia - the nation she quit in anger four years ago.
"I'd love to go back to Australia, but a lot would depend on the reaction of the fans and the federation," the 22-year-old said.
"I don't really know what's going on in Australia any more."
Dokic's life on and off court has contained more drama than several seasons of Home and Away. But things couldn't be at a lower ebb.
Her ranking has plummeted to 450th after a seven-week injury absence, and she lost in the first round of the Estoril Open in Portugal last week, going out to Ukrainian Alyona Bondarenko.
Dokic has won just two of her past 13 matches going back to last season.
As she ponders her future - alone and without a coach - from her Monte Carlo base, Dokic realises she has just a few options left in the game. But she believes Australia could be one of them.
"I have my tennis to worry about now, that's my main worry right now," said the former Wimbledon semi-finalist, who produced one of the biggest surprises in grand slam history when, as a qualifier, she toppled the then world No.1 Martina Hingis in the first round at Wimbledon in 1999.
"I would consider changing some things.
"I would like to play in Australia again, but I don't have the ranking to get into any tournaments.
"I still have my Australian passport - I never gave that up - and I could certainly consider taking back the citizenship."
Belgrade-born Dokic, who is also a national of Serbia and Montenegro, appeared to have a bright future in 2002, winning two tournaments and beating Hingis, Jennifer Capriati, Monica Seles and Justine Henin-Hardenne.
Dokic's match in Estoril was her first since she lost in qualifying at Indian Wells in March and injured a thigh, and she knows her next two or three events will be critical.
While she is keen to play again in Australia, she draws the line at basing herself there as she did as a teenager with a family headed by controversial father Damir, who is reportedly estranged from his daughter after years as her coach.
"I'd go back [to Australia] and play but it's too far away to base yourself," Dokic said.
Any Dokic return to Australia would provoke a reaction. Australian Open tournament director Paul McNamee is one who would welcome back the prodigal, despite absurd charges from Damir in 2001 that the open draw was rigged. "I still feel a big soft spot for Jelena and, perverse as it may seem, I would always hope that she would feel welcome here," McNamee said.
The desperate Dokic still displays a steely determination to fix her game through hard work and grit.
She will test herself at bottom-level WTA events in Morocco and Prague in the next fortnight.
"I went from a ranking of four to 444," she said. "I need to start at the beginning, like I did when I was aged 14 or 15. At this stage I need match confidence."
Dokic said the search for a coach was not a top priority. "I haven't found any one suitable or anyone I'd want to work with. Even if I found one, it wouldn't happen overnight."
Copyright © 2005. The Sydney Morning Herald.