Dokic credits Australian crowds for launch of second career

January 28th, 2009 - 1:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Jan 28 (DPA) Jelena Dokic said that an enthusiastic welcome home from frenzied fans at the Australian Open has truly marked the start of her second career.The 25-year-old was still beaming on Wednesday, a day after losing after an improbable run into the quarter-finals of the Grand Slam.

“It was quite a ride from the first round onwards,” the number 187, who is set for a big rise on the WTA from Monday, told the Seven television network. “I got a good start and things just went crazy from there.”

Dokic, a one-time world number four before her fall from the summit due to family problems, emotional distress and lack of motivation, will return to the Top 100 as a result of the Cinderella story of the fortnight.

Her family’s stormy relationship with Australia forgotten, Yugoslav-born Dokic revelled in the affections of fans.

“I was lucky to play the night sessions and they were always a sellout. All of my matches went three sets and there was always some drama,” said the 2000 Wimbledon semi-finalist.

“I was always down and always had to fight through in every match that I played.”

Due to her unexpected performance, Dokic got the call for Fed Cup duty for Australia next week in Perth at the Asian zonal group tie.

The only player to have played five straight three-set matches at a Grand Slam admitted that she got much more than she expected from the fortnight.

“We thought I would struggle after the second match,” said the woman, who has been long estranged from much of her family and especially her domineering father and one-time coach Damir Dokic.

“I’m looking forward to coming back next year. The second half of my career has started here and it’s thanks to the crowd.

“It’s amazing how a match or two can change a career or a life and that’s what happened to me here.”

The Australian admitted to some natural post-match disappointment after her loss to world number three Dinara Safina.

“But I can’t say that I’m not happy. I came here and no one expected anything from me. To finish in the quarter-finals is great. It shows that I can still play with some of the best players in the world.”

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