TENNIS

Former tennis player Jelena Dokic says she almost took her own life

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Alongside a close-up photo of herself, where she has a flushed face and watery eyes as if she’s been crying, Dokic wrote that on April 28, she nearly committed suicide.

“Never forget the day. Everything is blurry. Everything is dark,” she wrote.

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“No tone, no image, nothing makes sense…just tears, sadness, depression, anxiety and pain.”

The 39-year-old also shared on Instagram how she experienced “constant feelings of sadness and pain” and how professional help saved her life.

CNN has reached out to Dokic’s reps about his post.

“The last six months have been difficult. There has been constant crying everywhere,” she added. “From hiding in the bathroom at work to wipe away my tears so no one would see, to unstoppable crying at home within my own four walls has been unbearable.”

Dokic, who has worked as a broadcaster for Australian media since retiring in 2014, has won six WTA Tour titles and achieved a career-high position of fourth in the world rankings.

She reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2000 and the French Open and Australian Open quarter-finals in 2002 and 2009 respectively.

In her Instagram post, she said she was “on the road to recovery.”

“Some days are better than others and sometimes I take a step forward and then a step back but I fight and I believe I can pull it off,” Dokic said.

In her autobiography ‘Unbreakable’, she detailed the allegations of physical, verbal and mental abuse she says her father inflicted on her throughout her tennis career. The New York Times reported that he denied at least one allegation of physical abuse against his daughter when she was a teenager.

“It’s a very difficult subject that I talk about in the book, not just my dad and the whole amount of abuse that went on from the age of six, pretty much, for over 20 years,” said Dokic in a 2018 interview with CNN.

“I struggled with depression for a very long time, almost 10 years, and almost killed myself at one point.”

Dokic, who was born in Croatia before her family fled to Serbia and then Australia when war broke out in the Balkans, told CNN she shared her experience in the hopes it would “raise awareness of abuse, domestic violence, in sport and also outside of sport.”

At the time, Dokic’s father, Damir, did not respond to CNN’s request for comment. He told the Serbian daily Blic in 2009 that “there is no child who has not been beaten by his parents, the same for Jelena”.

There was an outpouring of support in the comments section of Dokic’s post, including from the tennis community.

“I’m here for you and all it takes is a phone call!” wrote former Australian player Mark Philippoussis, while French star AlizĂ© Cornet added: “You can do that Jelena…we love you!”

Dokic ended his message by reminding others who are also suffering to get help, encouraging them not to be ashamed.

“I am writing this because I know I am not the only one struggling. Just know that you are not alone.

“I’m not going to say I’m doing great now, but I’m definitely on the mend.”

She reminded people that it’s okay to feel sad, but to keep fighting.

“I love you all and here is the fight and the survival to live and see another day. I will be back stronger than ever.”

If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, here are ways to help
If you live in the United States and are having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (800-273-TALK) for free, confidential assistance. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For crisis assistance in Spanish, call 888-628-9454
TrevorLifeline, a suicide prevention counseling service for the LGBTQ community, can be reached at 866-488-7386
Befrienders Worldwide connects users to the closest emotional support center to the part of the world they live in.

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