Tennis Australia have revealed they raised concerns about the welfare of Jelena Dokic to police but without her co-operation at the time nothing could be done about it.
The tennis world reacted in shock to revelations made in Dokic’s new book that she suffered systematic mental and physical abuse at the hands of her father Damir when she was growing up as a teen prodigy.
The sport’s governing body in Australia said they had lodged complaints with police at the time because they were seriously worried about the relationship but they could not be investigated without compliance from Dokic herself. And there was none.
In the book Dokic alleges she was once knocked unconscious by her father in an extreme beating. She was also repeatedly verbally abused by her father who constantly labeled her a ‘whore', and was repeatedly whipped with a belt, among a number of other abuses.
She said the abuse was part of her father’s system for trying to make her the best tennis player in the world.
Tennis Australia released a statement outlining their previous concerns following the revelations in the book.
“All of us at Tennis Australia applaud Jelena’s courage in telling her story and will continue to support her in any way we can.” Tennis Australia said in a statement.
“There were many in tennis at the time who were concerned for Jelena’s welfare, and many who tried to assist with what was a difficult family situation.
“Some officials even went as far as lodging police complaints, which without cooperation from those directly involved, unfortunately could not be fully investigated.
“Over the past 10 years tennis has been constantly improving and updating policies to increase protection for children.
“Tennis Australia is working closely with the Australian Childhood Foundation to strengthen the safeguarding of children across the sport.”