Jelena Dokic was once ranked fourth in the world, reached the semifinals of Wimbledon in 2000, and was a two-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist. The traumatic experience of having to leave her family led to Dokic’s career collapse, but the 25-year-old is now steadily working on her return to the top.
“I was on my own, and I was learning for two or three years what to do, where to go and who I could rely on,” Dokic told Reuters in an interview.
“Once you feel that you’ve lost your family you’ve pretty much lost everything. You can lose a match, you can lose a friend, but your family always stays with you. It took a long time to deal with and to realise exactly what I have, which was just myself.”
Dokic is slowly getting back on track, playing low-level tournaments, and her results have been quite satisfying. She has won three such events this year (Florence, Caserta and Darmstadt) , and climbed from zero to 187 in the rankings.
“I feel like I am starting from zero,” she said. “You lose everything that you had before. The only thing you have to go on is experience…I’m slowly getting into that rhythm again and I think next year should be big for me.”
“I’ve practised with a couple of girls from the top 10, top 20. There’s work to do but it’s encouraging, and I feel I have the type of game that’s very aggressive and that can be in the top 20 again. I think that’s a realistic goal.”
Dokic was given a wildcard for qualifications for the ongoing tournament in Linz, but didn’t manage to qualify falling to fifth seed Jill Craybas in the second round.