Jelena Dokic highlights disturbing reality of abuse: 'Survived it all'

No amount of negative commentary is going to make Jelena Dokic feel any differently about who she is.

Jelena Dokic.
Jelena Dokic says she is far happier now than she ever was during her tennis career, where she peaked as the World No.4. Pictures: Getty Images

Jelena Dokic has emphatically declared no comment about her appearance or weight will take away her happiness, comparing a current shot of herself to one from her tennis playing days on social media. The former World No.4 has frequently opened up about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father Damir throughout her childhood and tennis career.

The 39-year-old, now a commentator for Channel 9, took to her Instagram to contrast her experience now to her life as a tennis player, saying she was no longer the teenage star she used to be. Pointing out bruises on her legs as a result of her father's abuse in the shot of her from a practice session, Dokic said if her changed appearance was the price to pay for happiness and safety, then it was one well worth paying.

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Dokic has been the subject of various abusive messages on social media since her return to prominence as a tennis commentator. She said that the image of her young tennis star showed she was a 'survivor', making her way into the tennis elite despite objectively awful conditions at home.

“What is the most common comment I see when it comes to my body, size and weight? ‘What happened to her? I can barely recognise her’,” Dokic captioned her post.

“Really? What happened? You can’t recognise me? Let me tell you what happened.

“I survived being a refugee twice, I was bullied, I lived in a domestic violence filled home for 15 years and I was beaten unconscious, I was abused physically and emotionally and got beaten for the first time when I was six years, I was called a whore and a cow since I was as young as 11. I had to escape home, I battled anxiety, depression, PTSD and trauma and I almost committed suicide.”

Dokic made a memorable comeback at the Australian Open in 2009, when she won her first grand slam match since 2003 and proceeded all the way through to the quarter-final. She dropped back out of the top 100 later that year, before bouncing back in 2011 to win her first WTA trophy in eight years.

However the writing was on the wall for Dokic and she would retire at the end of 2013. Since then, she has established herself as a respected commentator.

Jelena Dokic opens up on father's horrific abuse

Dokic says she is immensely proud of her tennis achievements, but said her focus today was simply on her happiness - not her appearance or anything else.

“I still managed to do pretty well, I managed to be top five in the world as tennis player and a grand slam finalist, I am a best-selling author, commentator and speaker but most importantly I survived. So, while you see a weight and size change, I will tell you the difference between these two images,” she wrote.

“The one on the left is a size four, scared to death, beaten unconscious and that bulge on my shins is from being kicked all night. The one on the right is me at size 16, I have survived it all and I am here healing from my trauma and thriving.

“I will take the size 16 over the size 4 any day if it means I am happy. If it means I turned to food to try and survive, then so be it. But I am here, I am happy and most importantly I made it through.

“So, there is the answer, once and for all. I went through hell and back and I survived and today I try to help others. That’s what happened. And for those that still don’t get the point, well that says everything about you. Beauty isn’t about being a certain size, beauty is having a beautiful heart and soul."

Jelena Dokic conducts an interview on court at the Australian Open.
Jelena Dokic has been determined to stamp out online abuse (Photo by MARTIN KEEP/AFP via Getty Images) (AFP via Getty Images)

Dokic opened up about the horrific abuse she suffered at the hands of her father in her 2017 book 'Unbreakable'. Damir Dokic was exiled from the tennis world after various incidents, including being banned from the Australian Open in 2002. He was sentenced to 15 months prison in 2009 after threatening the Australian ambassador to Serbia with a hand grenade.

“A mediocre training session, a loss, a bad mood — any of these trigger him to bring out the belt. My losing particularly sends my father into a rage. I rarely lose but when I do the consequence is brutal," Dokic wrote in her book.

“Then he tells me to take off my shirt. It hurts a lot less when you have your shirt on and that’s why he makes me take it off. I stand in my bra, my back to him, and he orders me not to move as he hits me. Often he almost slices my skin with the belt.”

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