Jelena Dokic backs Nick Kyrgios to become world No. 1 on the back of the support of a “great family” in contrast to her own harrowing experiences.
Dokic revealed the horrendous emotional and physical abuse she endured as an adolescent at the hands of her father, Damir Dokic, as she became one of the best tennis players in the world, in her new book Unbreakable.
The former world No. 4 survived years of abuse and in a book full of startling revelations, which she will discuss at an event in Canberra later this month, Dokic said she was once beaten unconscious.
Dokic fell offside with the n public as a teenager in 2001 when she defected to play for Serbia, a decision the 34-year-old says her father made, but one that remains the biggest regret of her career.
Kyrgios has endured his own rocky relationship with the n public and while Dokic said their stories were “completely different”, she backed the 22-year-old to fulfil his potential with the support of a loving family.
The world No. 21 regularly tours with a member of his family and has spoken about his struggles to cope with life on the road.
“From what I know and see he has a good family… in them he has a great support system,” Dokic said.
“I had a very abusive situation and very tough upbringing and difficult situation with my dad, whereas from what I know of Nick it’s completely the opposite, he has a great family and lots of support.
“Nick needs his family and that’s why he has them on tour to help him, sometimes he struggles on the road away from and he does need people around him that are good for him and his family are definitely the right choice.”
Kyrgios has been without a full-time coach for almost two years and Dokic said the world No. 21 can become the best player in the world with just the support of those closest to him.
“I’ve been a big fan of Nick, I love how he plays and he doesn’t want a full-time coach which is fair enough and he’s played well without one,” Dokic said.
“He has an amazing game and one I definitely could see winning a grand slam and potentially becoming number one.
“There are issues that he sometimes has going on and he’s admitted to that which is good… but I’ve watched a lot of his matches and I really enjoy when he plays well and is winning.
“When he’s in the right space it is beautiful to watch him play and I’m rooting for him and would like to see him do even better and jump into the top 10.”
Dokic and Kyrgios have both endured prickly relationships with the media but Dokic said hers began when she was forced to publicly defend the Serbia move because of the fear of repercussions if she contradicted her father.
“I wouldn’t have had a tough relationship with the media if it wasn’t for my father, he made things very difficult for me and after I left home and distanced myself from him it was hard to get rid of that image,” Dokic said.
Dokic said she would have liked “lots of things” about her past to be different but emphasised defecting from the green and gold for five years was her biggest regret.
“The big one would be switching from playing for to Serbia, that was a decision my dad made with which I didn’t agree with,” Dokic said.
“I felt n and always wanted to play for and even know I came back a few years later and I didn’t really make the decision to leave myself, people still judged me.
“I got a lot of problems because of that… it was a really bad decision and after gave me a second chance but I felt I had to work extra hard with fans, but they did welcome me back.”
Dokic will speak in Canberra at an event promoting her book at the National Library on November 27.