Wednesday December 10, 2008
Dokic says sorry to Aussie Open organisers
MELBOURNE: Peace has broken out in Jelena Dokic’s war of words with the Australian Open after she apologised for lashing the Grand Slam tournament when she was overlooked for a wild card entry this year.
Former world number four Dokic, who together with her firebrand father Damir has endured a rocky relationship with Australian tennis officials for years, most recently hit out over a perceived lack of support.
“I definitely think I deserved a wild card into the main draw,” she raged in January after being overlooked for the 2008 tournament.
“I think I’ve done more in one week and had more big wins in one week than some of those girls have in their whole careers,” she said of the unheralded recipients.
Yugoslav-born Dokic also accused wild card selectors of a conflict of interest.
Some were involved in coaching candidates for the four free spots into the main draw.
Dokic represented Australia until switching to Serbia and Montenegro in 2001 following a fall-out with her adopted nation, but then switched back to Australia in 2006.
Back in Melbourne to play for a wild card berth in the 2009 Open, however, Dokic is adopting a conciliatory tone.
“I have apologised to him (Open tournament director Craig Tiley) and Tennis Australia,” she told reporters. “I made some remarks in January that were out of line.
“At the time I should not have said that.”
Dokic is competing in the Australian Open playoff from Dec 15-21.
The men’s and women’s singles winners from the week-long event will gain wild card entries into the year’s first Grand Slam which begins on Jan 19.
Dokic’s ranking went into free-fall and she dropped out of the world’s top 600 after missing most of 2007.
She resurrected her career this year, however, with three titles on the second-tier ITF circuit and has climbed back up to 179th. — Reuters