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One Minute with Inspirational Speaker Jelena Dokic | Tennis Star, Refugee, & Best-Selling Author - 25 September 2018

One Minute with Inspirational Speaker Jelena Dokic | Tennis Star, Refugee, & Best-Selling Author

One of Australia’s most successful tennis stars, Jelena Dokic had victories over many number one players and rapidly ascended through the world rankings. However, Jelena's time in the world elite was beset by dark and traumatic off-court struggles.

Jelena recently penned the best-selling autobiography 'Unbreakable', a book which details her career and her life. She writes of the struggles of being a refugee, dealing with poverty, bullying, discrimination, injury, depression, and the physical and emotional abuse she suffered for over 20 years at the hands of her father and coach.

Here Jelena shares some insight into her struggles, her past & her exciting future.

Your story is one of survival; from making your way in a new country as a refugee to reaching world number 4 in tennis, to surviving the brutality of your father. Tell us how you are able to find such inner-strength?

I was always quite strong, competitive and even a little bit stubborn. I was taught that you have to fight for yourself and what you believe in. I have also been through a lot in my life, especially as a child. I experienced war. I was a refugee, twice. I experienced racism and bullying. I also experienced heavy physical and emotional abuse at the hands of my father. That is a lot to go through for any person but especially to experience all that by the time I was 11. It was all very tough and it makes you tough as a person. You grow up very fast and life forces you to find ways to survive. I think I am quite a strong person in a lot of ways. I always try to dig deep and find that inner strength, that little bit extra to survive, no matter what life throws at me. It’s about finding solutions to problems, believing that there is always a way and a light at the end of the tunnel.

You have shared so much of your personal life in your book. Tell us what you hope to accomplish from opening up in this way?

It was very important to write this book because not many people have talked or written about domestic violence, abuse, depression and almost committing suicide, especially in sport and tennis. I want to give a voice to people, especially women and raise awareness about these extremely important problems and break the stigma. I want women not to be afraid or ashamed to talk about it because we shouldn’t be ashamed. We should be proud for going through things like this and we should be talked about as strong and powerful women. I also hope that my book really helps people and gives them strength and hope.

What is the proudest moment of your tennis career?

It’s hard to pick just one great result or accomplishment. My great run at the Australian Open in 2009 is definitely a big one because it was at home in Australia. Just like finishing 4th at the Sydney Olympics, having the Olympics at home and being a part of that. Also, having my highest ranking of number 4 in the world is also an achievement I am proud of.

We will be seeing a lot of you in the New Year as you are on the commentary team for the Australian Open 2019 for Channel 9. What are you most excited about taking on this role?

I am very excited to be a part of the commentary team for the summer. I love tennis so to be able to talk about tennis and give my expert opinion is great. I love working on TV and in the media as I get to do a lot of different things. I am learning so much and I constantly have to be on my toes as it’s all live, I especially love the live on camera things that I get to do. It’s a little bit like tennis and you get a bit nervous as you have to perform under pressure. It almost takes me back to my tennis days which I love. Just to be around tennis especially at Grand Slams is very satisfying.

What else can we expect to see from Jelena Dokic in coming years?

I have a lot of new projects that I am currently working on that I can’t reveal just yet but they are all very different which I love. My book has become a best-seller and I am still doing so much to promote it. I love being a speaker and that is something I am developing more and I hope to do a lot more of that in the future. I do a bit of media work and I hope to do even more of that too. All in all, I have a lot of very exciting projects that I am working on and they will be revealed next year.

Learn more about Jelena here.

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