Jelena Dokic finds strength after adversity

Former tennis star’s book documents abuse she endured from her father, but Dokic is finding support from all quarters.

Jelena Dokic has been overwhelmed by the support she has received since the release of her book 'Unbreakable' which documents in harrowing detail the abuse she endured at the hands of her father.   -  Getty Images

Jelena Dokic has succeeded in getting the sporting world talking, on a topic people find hard to talk about.

Returning to the Australian Open for the first time since the release of her book 'Unbreakable' which documents the abuse she underwent at the hands of her father, Dokic has been overwhelmed by the support she has received.

“The support has been unbelievable,” she told Guardian Australia from Melbourne Park. “The reception has been so positive, from the media to regular fans, tennis people, non-tennis people.

“I’m pretty much the first one to talk about something like this. No-one has ever really done it in tennis. It’s incredible to see some of the players and press carrying the book around. Everyone knows about it and everyone’s talking about it.”

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One consequence of her comfort discussing her experience of domestic violence, she says, is that it has enabled others to start talking.

“On the book tour, it was surreal, I had people who had been in the same situation, or are still, come up and tell me they’ve been inspired by my story.

A file photo of Jelena Dokic's parents. Dokic is working on setting up a foundation to raise awareness for women and children experiencing family violence.   -  ALLSPORT

 

Dokic said she is working on setting up a foundation to raise awareness for women and children experiencing family violence. "I can do a lot to raise awareness. People don’t talk about this kind of thing, because they’re embarrassed, worried they’ll be judged, or they feel ashamed.

“It’s about education and teaching people that by not talking to someone about it, running away from it, you’re actually making it more difficult for the victims, because they are going to feel even more ashamed; it’s a vicious cycle."

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In the meantime, she remains buoyed by those who her story has touched, including an unlikely source in Nick Kyrgios' mother Norlaila, or Nill for short.  “She was so nice. She’s a big fan of mine, and the book, and wants me to come watch Nick whenever he’s here. I love the way she supports him and the way she is as a mum.”