My 'tennis dad from hell' abused me every step of my rise

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The sport's governing body in Australia said they had lodged complaints with police at the time because they were seriously anxious about the relationship but they could not be investigated without compliance from Dokic herself.

Her family emigrated in 1994 from Europe to Australia, where Jelena trained in Sydney under her father.

In a new autobiography, former Australian tennis star Jelena Dokic has detailed the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father Damir.

Do you remember her career?

He would pull her hair, spit in her face and belittle her with vile insults.

Amid a range of startling revelations, the former world No.4 also says her personal situation was hardly a secret but some involved in tennis in Australia chose to look away. But she returned to represent Australia from 2006.

"From my childhood through to my late teens, and even into my early 20s, when it was obvious I was on the receiving end of constant abuse, individuals told themselves it wasn't their problem, chose to ignore it".

Tennis Australia said in a statement released on Sunday afternoon that concerns had previously been raised about Dokic's welfare but a lack of cooperation from all parties meant they could not be fully investigated.

She said she experienced extreme poverty, racism and bullying.

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'There were many in tennis at the time who were concerned for Jelena's welfare, and many who tried to assist with what was a hard family situation, ' Tennis Australia said in a statement.

Tennis Australia said over the past 10 years the sport has strengthened steps to protect young players.

In her new book Unbreakable, Dokic alleges she underwent regular beatings from her father that were so severe, she lost consciousness.

The former World No. 4 has revealed she suffered physical abuse as a child and teenager nearly every time her father was displeased with her performance on the tennis court. "Once my tears start, they fall thick and fast", Dokic writes.

"'But, Dad.' I say quietly, trying to plead with him. Reading that extract I went. this is awful". "I am sorry.' Even though he is apologising I can feel it in my soul that he thinks he was right".

We are only beginning now to learn the full story of Jelena Dokic's life, and the silence in which she suffered could only have added to the burden, but her huge strength of character and will to persevere has been evident right from the first time she stepped foot onto the grass at Wimbledon.

One of the biggest frustrations was being forced to tell lies on behalf of her father. "Which is the one thing I couldn't understand".

During the program both Ellis and Slater questioned what Tennis Australia was doing to ensure things like this never occur again.

"It was a really nasty memory that will stay with me forever ..."

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