Jelena’s father apologises to her

January 24th, 2009 - 10:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Jan 24 (IANS) Jelena Dokic’s estranged father Damir has apologised for ruining his daughter’s life and spurning Australia at the height of her tennis career.As Jelena’s miraculous return to the top of women’s tennis after a three-year hiatus continued, the shamed father of the Australian has offered an olive branch to his daughter, saying sorry for years of outrageous public behaviour.

The 25-year-old wildcard winner Jelena has already knocked over world No.18 Anna Chakvetadze and the 11th-ranked Caroline Wozniacki to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open.

Jelena revealed she had been fighting depression as recently as 2007 as a result of the split with her dad, which effectively alienated her from her mother Liliana and younger brother Savo too.

Her troubled dad confessed his venomous attack on Australian Open organisers in 2001 over an allegedly biased draw against Jelena.

He said he would visit Melbourne should she make Saturday’s Australian Open final.

“I believe that if it’s possible to do it in such short notice that I would come, because I loved Australia,” he was quoted as saying in the Australian media.

Jelena is not in talking terms with her father for several years.

Her father admitted his biggest mistake was forcing Jelena to turn her back on Australia in 2001 and change allegiances to Serbia and Montenegro which almost finished her tennis career.

“Do you remember 2001, when I change (sic) for Jelena when she play for Australia?” Dokic said. “It is my biggest, biggest mistake. In 2001, Australian Open, the draw for Jelena is very bad. They do nothing for her.

“I got very angry, very angry and I change play, stop play for Australia and change (to Serbia). But now I think it is my biggest mistake.”

When asked if he still loved his daughter and missed her, his response was emphatic: “Of course”.

Dokic said he harboured no ill feeling towards Australia or anyone involved in Jelena’s new life.

He hoped to one day reunite with her.

“Of course, if she call me, I will be coach with her,” Dokic said.

He said he would welcome Jelena back to Serbia if she wished to return, but admitted Australia was the best place to resurrect her career.

“But I get to Serbia seven years ago, now I am 50 years old. You have good life in your country. I think it is good for her (Jelena).

“It is a very strong country. Australia can help for everything. If she stay and play for Australia, better for her.”

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