Re: What the hell is up with Jelena Dokic? (A thread for Naldo and Fummy)
Ohhh...well...how about we get on topic with more Jelena!
Ground zero: Dokic back from burnout
Jelena: ĎSome things you canít settle the way you want and some you can. Iíve done what I can doí
By Matthew Cronin, TennisReporters.net
Susan Mullane/Camerawork USA
Dokic: "I donít want to say that I didnít want to be on court, but thatís what it seemed like."
FROM THE PACIFIC LIFE OPEN AT INDIAN WELLS Ė Whatís life like these days for former Top 5 player and Wimbledon semifinalist Jelena Dokic? Not exactly bed of roses, but it is filled with more sunshine than dark clouds.
She had to ask a friend to get her a room at the Esmerelda resort, the normal WTA playersí hotel at Indian Wells. Dokic, who beat Lilia Osterloh in three sets in the second round of the Pacific Life qualifying on Monday, was surprised that she simply couldnít put cash down and get a room, but thatís what life is like for qualifiers. However, she was told that if she qualified, she could get her own room. Thatís an interesting option for someone with nearly $3.8 million in career prize money. Welcome to the life of unwashed doubles masses. "I donít know if separating players like that is right," she said. "Itís strange."
Last year was by the far the worst one of the tall blondeís career, as she lost 12 times in the first round and left the tour for six months because she was totally burnt out. She ended 2004 ranked a career low No. 125. During her time off, Dokic had her tonsils removed and had nose surgery to open up her airwaves. Sheís back on tour now and says sheís refreshed and eager to go, although she says sheís only playing at 50-60 percent of her ability and looks a little out of shape.
Dokic didnít ask for a wild card into the main draw because she needs to get matches in and the confidence that comes with posting any kind of victory. Sheís rusty and although you can see signs of her once-lethal form when she cracks a return or sets up and whacks a backhand down the line, sheís still quite inconsistent and her serve is way off. Still, the woman with a perpetual on-court frown is smiling a bit off court and appears eager again Ė traits you didnít see from the honest-yet-troubled Serb last year. Dokic says that playing Fed Cup this year is out of the question (she played for Serbia last year) and itís doubtful sheíll ever play for Australia again.
Late last year, Dokicís controversial father and former coach, Damir, said he was asked to coach his daughter again. The two have been estranged on and off for the past three years. It appears now that that so-called father/coach-daughter reunion didnít gather much steam, as Jelena is again being coached by Borna Bikic, the man who Damir called a know-nothing and who he blamed for most of Jelenaís problems. She living in Monte Carlo again and is still dating Bikicís brother.
While Dokic has made numerous claims of revival during the two years, the 21-year-old did appear sincere when discussing how much she has matured and how she feels like she now has her life under control. The following Q and A with Dokic was conducted by TennisReporter.netís Matthew Cronin and the Desert Sunís Leighton Ginn.
Q: Whereís your level right now?
A: Most of what I need to do will come from matches. Iím starting from zero again. With more than six months off, itís hard. But Iím practicing well. I have a long way to go. Itís hard to close out matches and play the big points, but Iím feeling better.
Q: When you were off and taking your break, did you decide to return because you had goals left to achieve, or because you just enjoy playing?
A: Thereís more that Iíd like to do. But I really have fun when I play. Even when I was losing I had fun in practice. Even after I finish tennis I would always want to be involved. I like the sport. I wanted a break. but was missing it at the same time.
Q: In your mind, are you still a Top-5 player?
A: I think I can get to minimum Top 20. Iíll just try to get close to the top again. After last year with how down I got, I donít want to make goals. Iíll be more realistic.
Q: What was the worst part of last year?
A: I wasnít determined and motivated and not able to practice like I wanted to. Mentally I wasnít focused. I donít want to say that I didnít want to be on court, but thatís what it seemed like. I had so much tennis. I needed the time off. I was very low on motivation and burnt out. For a while there last year I didnít feel I could get a ball in. When you get to that stage, it's times to take a break. But I think Iím good enough to have a break and come back.
Q: How does someone as good as you fall to zero? You were very good and itís not easy to fall that far. Do you really feel like you are back at zero?
A: Iím not a negative person, but Iíve really fallen back. Hopefully I can get a good break somewhere. Confidence has a lot to with it. Iím that kind of player. Physically I have gone back to zero. Mentally I feel better. But it takes so much to come back to a good level. Iíve had to suffer. When you donít you play, itís difficult to do it again. But for me to say Iím going to do it is a big step.
Q: How much has maturing as a person helped you in this process?
A: Iíve gotten older. Iíve had to find myself in my life. All the problems built up and my tennis suffered. It was difficult. Tennis-wise and life-wise, I have to focus on myself. When I was younger, I dealt with things very well and thought nothing could ever affect me. I was very focused and could block things out. But you have to be very calm off court. Eventually it catches up and affects your mind and the results catch up. But Iíve dealt with it.
Q: Other players who have gone through off-court problems say that you canít play your best until you get your off court life squared away. Have you settled what you need to off court?
A: Some things you canít settle the way you want and some you canít. Iíve done what I can do. Itís out of my hands. Iím very comfortable in my mind and am not going to let anything affect my on-court performance. Itís really let me down when I havenít been able to play well. I need to be able to compete. I donít want things to bother me and affect my tennis.
Q: There has been a perception that you havenít been in control of your own life. Are you calling the shots now? Are you in control of your own life and career?
A: If I do something right of wrong now, itís totally on me. I like it that way. I know people have forgotten about me and donítí have respect for me on court and are counting me out. In a way I like that. Hopefully Iíll play better than I did.
Anyone who says any player has no chance against Dolgopolov is clearly trolling.
That's the gospel.