sistaff
Wednesday September 28th, 2011

Jelena Dokic (right) reunited with her estranged father Damir in Serbia. (SIPA)

Jelena Dokic confirmed on Tuesday that she has reconciled with her father and former coach, Damir, after an eight-year rift.

"My partner Tin Bikic and I have visited my father at his home to finally put an end to our disagreement," Dokic said in a statement. "I initiated the meeting as I want to reunite my family and allow us all to get on with our lives and be happy. This has gone on too long."

The announcement has sent shock waves through the tennis community, with reactions from fans and pundits ranging from extreme disappointment to uncomfortable optimism.

Dokic, 28, who was ranked as high as No. 4 as a teen, split from her father after a number of embarrassing and volatile incidents. He accused Australian Open organizers of fixing the 2001 draw, was ejected from multiple tournaments and had confrontations with television crews and photographers. The WTA banned him from attending tournaments for six months. Jelena said her father physically abused her, and his violent and aggressive behavior reportedly contributed to her depression and resultant slump.

Damir recently served a year in jail for threatening the Australian ambassador and having an illegal cache of weapons at his home.

Jelena said she believes that her father has "changed greatly."

"I am in a very positive and confident frame of mind in my life and I really wanted to do this because I believe it is the right thing to do both for me and for all of my family," she said in the statement. "My father was very receptive and I believe he has changed greatly. He understands that I am my own person who makes my own decisions."

The family is currently reunited in Serbia, where Jelena is preparing for next month's tournament in Linz, Australia. Dokic is ranked 72nd and has one title this year, in Malaysia in February. "[I] am fit and keen to keep improving on my ranking and looking forward to having a strong finish to the season," Dokic said. "After that I have plans for a lot of hard work in the off-season to be ready for the Australian summer."

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