Aussie tennis great Jelena Dokic became emotional on live TV after her traumatic relationship with her father was stirred up again following Ash Barty’s incredible Wimbledon triumph.
Dokic has repeatedly spoken out bravely about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her dad Damir — but the memories appeared to make her emotional when she spoke in the wake of Barty’s victory over Karolina Pliskova in the ladies final on Sunday morning (AEST).
The 37-year-old cut fellow commentator Todd Woodbridge off in the middle of a discussion following Barty’s victory to praise the role Barty’s parents have played in her astonishing rise to a second grand slam crown following years away from the sport and a brief cricket career.
Vision of Barty’s family erupting following the win on match point has gone viral since, with the family going ballistic in front of a TV in Brisbane, having been unable to travel to the UK as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.
When the video was played on Nine, Dokic cut in to speak about Barty’s parents and support group.
“I just want to get this out before I fall apart,” she said. “So give me 15 seconds.
Jelena Dokic at the Australian Open. Picture: Fiona Hamilton/Tennis AustraliaSource:Supplied
“I want to give a shout out to her parents, obviously Josie and Rob, because people underestimate the importance of family. She talks about that all the time.
“And as someone who didn’t have that support, it is so important. This will set an example for parents in Australia and around the world, not just how to raise a champion but a genuinely wonderful human being.
“This is how you support them. You don’t pressure them, you’re there for them and this is why she is there, so big shout out to them, well done.”
Dokic's emotional tribute to Barty's parents. ❤️️ #9WWOS#Wimbledonpic.twitter.com/8aEEE5olTv
Dokic’s voice briefly wavered during her monologue and it is obvious her own tragic past was behind her emotion.
The former World No. 4 revealed she suffered physical abuse as a child and teenager almost every time her father was displeased with her performance on the tennis court.
In her 2017 biography Unbreakable, written with journalistJessica Halloran, Dokic said the beatings were part of a systematic pattern of abuse from the man previously branded the “tennis dad from hell”.
Dokic’s revelations in the book include:
— She was knocked unconscious during one beating at the hands of her father
— She was regularly beaten with a belt and a hard-capped boot
— She was regularly verbally abused and labelled a “w***e” by her father; and
— She was made to try to find a place to sleep somewhere at the Wimbledon courts after her semi-final loss in 2000 after being told she was not allowed to sleep in the family hotel room — which her tennis career was funding.
Barty’s former doubles partner Casey Dellacqua also spoke with admiration about how Barty’s parents had helped the 25-year-old grow.
Jelena Dokic became emotional following Ash Barty’s Wimbledon triumph on Channel 9.Source:Twitter
“They are just the most beautiful parents and to all parents out there that have kids in sport, take a look at Josie and Rob and how they’ve raised their daughter,” Dellacqua said. “She’s got two sisters who she is extremely close with and I know Facetimes them a lot.
“I really want to say to Josie and Rob, congratulations for not only raising a great tennis player, but a great person because that’s what Ash is. She respects everyone around her – from the moment I met her she said her pleases and thank yous which are just little things which are really, really important in day-to-day life and not just in sport.
“So to Josie and Rob and the whole Barty family, congratulations and enjoy the moment.”
Dokic, has carried the trauma of her own parental relationships every day and in 2019 she spoke about how her childhood contributed to her weight battle which at the time saw her weight blow out to 120kg following retirement.
She said recently she has given up on ever reconciling with her father after his refusal to apologise.
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