Former world No.4 Jelena Dokic, winner of six WTA titles and to this day the only qualifier who has defeated a women’s world No.1 at Wimbledon, with a victory over Martina Hingis in 1999, has been going through an extremely tough period, struggling with weight and thyroid problems, but now she’s finally on the right track, exuding positivity and sharing it with her Instagram followers.
The 2000 Wimbledon semifinalist Dokic, remembered as a beautiful blond, courageously shared the photo from the worst phase of her life, when she weighed 120 kilos and thought that there was no escape from the downfall.
Earlier this year I talked publicly about my health struggles and having a thyroid problem. Due to that I have struggled with my health and weight for a while. I have made big progress in the last 12 months and even though I still have more work to do, I am so happy that I am healthier and doing well. As important as it’s been for me to lose weight, this is not just about numbers. It’s about my mental and physical health and my fitness. It’s about my well-being and feeling good on the inside and out. That’s where tennis comes in.
Dokic made a serious return to tennis in 2008 and spectacularly reached her third Grand Slam quarterfinal at the 2009 Australian Open, rising from No.187 to No.91 in the WTA rankings, but thereafter again struggled with form and injuries, and stopped playing professionally in 2014. Although another comeback would be a dream come true for the 34-year-old Dokic, the Serbian-Australian is taking things slowly and her expectations are modest.
I love how all of you really want to see me compete again on a professional level and even though I really do believe in the saying “never say never”, let’s not rush to things too quickly. For me it has already been a comeback, a comeback to my health. I have enjoyed being able to practice again after years of not being able to, and that’s what it’s all about. Enjoyment and love for the game. I have always loved tennis, but this right now is enjoyment on another level and it makes me so happy.
As much as I would love to play professionally again, that’s a very tough task and a decision I do not take lightly. For now, I am enjoying being healthier, happier and being able to play almost everyday. If it turns into something more, like me competing again, it would be a dream. I am not practicing with the intent of coming back. I am out there to enjoy it and have fun.
It was very hard to put myself out there and reveal this before picture. I thought long and hard about it, especially because I was judged and scrutinized in my every day life, so putting this out to the public, media and social media was scary. But I decided to do it and share my story because if this can help just one person and inspire and motivate someone, then it’s worth it.
This is so much more than a before and after story. I struggled with my health and weight and I didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel for a long time and this took a lot of hard work, patience and mental strength. There were a lot of tears, hard moments and tough days, but I got through it.
It’s still a work in progress. I still have work to do, but I am on the right path. It’s not just about the numbers and losing weight. It’s about being healthy and feeling good. It’s about gaining confidence and self-esteem. I hope this helps and inspires people. And to the people that want to judge someone for their weight and appearance, please don’t. You never know what someone has gone through. You never know what battles they are fighting, whether it’s health related or life related. Instead of judging, try to help them and support them.
I’m so glad to see that Dokic is active again and I enjoy her Instagram updates. A comeback to professional tennis would be a really big bite, but it’s good to see her smile and interact with her fans. (photos: Dokic’s Instagram, Stephane Martinache)