Jelena Dokic made her return to the commentary box at the Australian Open on Sunday night, after her absence from last week's Adelaide International had tennis fans fearing the worst. Dokic's involvement in the year's opening grand slam was thrown into doubt during the recent Adelaide International, where she was forced to leave after coming down with a sudden illness.
Dokic's commentary duties in Adelaide came to an abrupt halt after the 40-year-old revealed she had flown back to Melbourne after suffering an infection. “I have come down with a viral infection and I have to leave and get back home to Melbourne asap,” she wrote on social media at the time. "I am so sad and disappointed as I absolutely love Adelaide and this amazing tournament but I have no choice. Off to Melbourne now and hopefully I will be ok soon and by Sunday for the start of the Australian Open. Fingers crossed.”
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The tennis world was understandably gutted for Dokic, who has emerged as a fan favourite in account of her astute commentary and knowledge of the sport, as well as her memorable on-court interviews. But concerns that the former World No.4 could be forced to miss the Australian Open were allayed on Sunday when she posted a number of photos at Melbourne Park.
She then took her place in the commentary box for Channel 9 for Novak Djokovic's first-round clash with Dino Prižmić. Dokic was in her usual role alongside Todd Woodbridge and John McEnroe - the first time the American legend has been at the Melbourne Park grand slam in four years.
"It’s almost time. Melbourne is ready, Australian Open is ready and I am ready to go," Dokic wrote on Instagram alongside a picture of herself in a blue dress with an Australian Open lanyard hanging down from her neck. "Just picked up my accreditation, did all the fittings and meetings and I am ready. And no better way to mark the beginning of the Australian Open than with a picture in front of the Melbourne sign with my accreditation in the tunnels of the Rod Laver Arena."
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She later posted a photo wearing an eye-catching green suit, confirming she would take her usual role in the commentary box. Both posts were met with a flood of messages welcoming her return.
One user commented: "So glad you are up and about again, it's not tennis without Jelena on commentary! Stay well." Another added: "Yesss - she's back! Have missed your insightful, considered commentary, Jelena so really pleased you're better in time. Take care though."
A third fan wrote: "Can't wait to hear you @dokic_jelena... you are a great commentator!" Others praised the 40-year-old for how good she looked and the flowing blue dress the former World No.4 was wearing, with another fan adding: "Glad to see you are feeling better and up and about!! THAT DRESS!!! I Love it!!!"
Dokic's health setback in Adelaide also saw her miss out on a book signing for her most recent autobiography 'Fearless', which is a recount about how she was able to reach out for help after struggling with an eating disorder in recent years. The book details how Dokic has bounced back from heartache and trauma to establish herself as a leading commentator and motivational speaker.
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The 40-year-old former tennis star - who rose to World No.4 at the peak of her career - has emerged as powerful voice for body positivity and mental health awareness in recent years, as well as one of Australia's most respected tennis analysts. Last year, she lifted the lid on an eating disorder from her younger years and the breakdown of a long-term relationship with her former partner.
Dokic revealed that she almost took her own life in 2022 and was courageous when she called out online trolls after being targeted by body-shamers while carrying out her media role at the Australian Open. The much-loved tennis commentator has been widely praised for having the courage to talk about her traumatic past and well-documented battles with mental health and depression that she spoke about in detail in her first best-selling book 'Unbreakable'.
Following the resounding success of that autobiography, Dokic decided to shine a light on more of her eventful life in Fearless. In an interview published by Stellar last year, Dokic revealed that writing the book helped her better understand and speak about the eating disorders she suffered as far back as her childhood refugee days in Serbia.
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