Jelena Dokic the former Australian tennis player who reached a career high ranking of four in the world and who is now a tennis commentator on Australian television, has struggled for “freedom” her whole life. Her life has been the most intense rollercoaster one could imagine but as Craig Gabriel writes this is a story of hope.

 

As a player Jelena Dokic lived through years of physical and emotional abuse from her father Damir who was eventually gaoled, to physical issues including injuries that sent her into retirement along with weight issues, and on to the recent breakup of her near two-decade long relationship with her boyfriend Tin Bikic, that sent her back into dark places. Places like those Nick Kyrgios spoke of so openly and revealed here in We Are Tennis last April.

Jelena has always been on the radar as a troubled soul but her 2017 best-selling autobiography “Unbreakable”, exposed all she went through and helped to start opening the door of mental illness in tennis. It was cathartic and she seemed to be in a much better place. The moment on Rod Laver Arena during this year’s Australian Open when she was interviewing Alize Cornet is arguably one of the best, if not the best, tennis moments of the year.

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But, sadly, just when one thought the worst was behind her, her life spiralled out of control once more. Not long after those heart-warming moments with Cornet, Dokic in a very sad and emotional Instagram post revealed she had tried to take her own life. She was, tragically, the second Australian player this year who spoke of suicide but thankfully both are still with us. 

On 28th April, Jelena Dokic almost jumped off her 26th floor balcony. The pain and sadness were so great. She felt she was not “worthy of loving and I am scared”. All she could think of was the sadness and pain and ending it all.

Somehow, and she can’t explain how, she managed to pull herself back from the edge and that moment started the healing; she realised she is not alone in this. On Instagram she wrote: “Just know that you are not alone.” She is not ashamed of her feelings and emotions, and she openly admits some days are better than others.

Two months later the images speak for themselves.

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Before leaving for a well-earned break overseas, she wrote a letter to herself. The letter is on the fridge in her kitchen, and she reads it in the morning and in the evening.

She said she was using this time to reflect and think about this past year, a year that has been great professionally but oh so tough personally. She has had to make “major adjustments in my life” and while the times were rough and tough in April and May and she no longer wanted to end it all, she has now been able to smile again and to be happy. She has stepped out of the darkness, just like Nick Kyrgios has done and is “doing so much better”.

For sure she remains a work in progress but it’s a matter of taking things a day at a time. She is doing well especially considering where she was. There is immense pride, as there should be, in how hard she has fought to come back from the edge.

The letter of inspiration Jelena Dokic wrote to herself follows and she hopes it will help others as well. She says if you are struggling, please read this.

 

“You got this; you can do this so don’t give up especially on yourself.

Just know you are strong, courageous and a fighter. You are getting up and showing up every single day no matter how hard things are. You are trying and doing it over and over again no matter what life throws at you. Life has thrown a lot at you, but you are still here fighting.

Despite all the struggles and inner battles that you are fighting, you still show up every day courageously and wake up with hope.

You are fighting and not giving up even though you feel weak and even though it feels like there is nothing left to fight for.  You are in pain; you are hurting but you still continue to try and heal, and you are a survivor.

And there is something incredibly inspiring and powerful in the fact that you continue to believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel even though you can’t see it a lot of the time and you are holding onto hope even through the darkest times.

So just know you are strong, brave and a fighter and you got this. You are unbreakable.

So don’t give up on yourself. Never.

Love,

Jelena.

Jelena Dokic has delivered a message of, and for, hope.