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Unbreakable By Jelena Dokic with Jess Halloran

Release date: 05th January, 2018
Publisher: Ebury Press

List Price: £16.99
Our Price: £16.99
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Unbreakable is, in many respects, a harrowing story, although it’s one which, regrettably, we’re increasingly familiar.

It highlights the extent to which we live in an age that effectively permits some parents to re-live their lives through their children and gain a measure of vicarious satisfaction in the process. Unfortunately for the talented children of these parents, adults are often disturbingly familiar with the reasons why they failed to achieve sporting success and in a perverse display of ‘love’, often beat and bully their offspring as a means of driving them on, convinced that this is the most effective way to guarantee the success they failed to enjoy.

It’s difficult to comprehend how the father of a 17-year-old girl could summarily abandon her after she lost a semi-final at Wimbledon, yet this is what Damir, father and coach of former world number four Jelena Dokic did, leaving her in tears and with nowhere to go after he told her not to return to the hotel because in defeat she was a pathetic embarrassment.

Dokic tried to snuggle down in the players’ lounge, hoping no-one would see her, but a kindly word from Wimbledon referee Alan Mills at least ensured she was able to spend the night in a spare room in a house rented by her management company.

“He beat me really badly,” says Dokic. “It basically started day one of me playing tennis [and] continued on from there. It spiralled out of control.

“Not just the physical pain but the emotional [pain], that was the one what hurt me the most . . . when you are 11, 12 years old and hear all those nasty things...that was more difficult for me.” In the same year as the Wimbledon incident, Damir Dokic beat his daughter so badly at a tournament in Canada that she lost consciousness after he kicked her in the head while she was on the ground.

Dokic makes constant references to how her father spat in her face, kicked her in the shins and pulled her hair in a misguided attempt to spur her on. How she survived to become one of the world’s best players is a miracle.

You sense that writing this book has been a cathartic experience for Jelena Dokic because ultimately, it is a story in which good triumphs over evil, a modern-day tale of unbelievable willpower and how it overcame extreme cruelty to triumph. You cannot read Dokic’s story and fail to be uplifted. Buy it.


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