Jelena Dokic distressed at father's arrest

Jelena Dokic will continue with her French Open preparations despite being distressed by her father's arrest.

updated: May 08, 2009 17:25 IST
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Belgrade:Tennis player Jelena Dokic will continue with her French Open preparations despite being distressed by her father's arrest for allegedly threatening the Australian ambassador in Belgrade.

Damir Dokic was ordered by a judge on Thursday to be jailed for 30 days pending an investigation.

Reacting to Jelena's claim in an Australian magazine that she was physically abused by her father, Damir reportedly called the Australian embassy and threatened to "fire a rocket" at the car belonging to ambassador Clare Bergin.

Jelena Dokic said she has been estranged from her father for seven years.

"Jelena is very distressed and saddened by her father's arrest," her agent, Lawrence Frankopan, said in a statement released in London.

"She understands very well the severity of the situation. Obviously, she cannot, in any way, be held responsible for her father's actions.

"Jelena remains 100 percent focused on her tennis in preparation for the upcoming French Open. We will have no further comment on this unfortunate situation."

Jelena, who switched her nationality from Australia to Serbia before splitting from her father and returning to Australia, was playing this week in an International Tennis Federation event in Bucharest, Romania, where she was the top seed and through to the quarterfinals.

After winning her second-round match on Thursday, she said: "You know it's important to win. You know sometimes you have to win when you're not playing well and when you're not feeling well, so I'm happy just to have won ... and tomorrow's a new day and tomorrow's a new match."

Serbian newspaper Blic said Damir Dokic could face charges of "endangering security (of the ambassador) and unlawful possession of weapons."

Police said they found seven hunting rifles, a gun and two bombs during a search of his house.

Ambassador Bergin has not commented. Instead, the embassy published a statement by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade saying the reports are being taken seriously and that any threat against an Australian diplomat was a serious concern.

Dokic has told Blic he was angry over an interview 26-year-old Jelena gave to Australia's Sport&Style magazine, in which she accused him of beating her. He added that "there is no child that was not beaten by parents _ the same with Jelena."

The Politika daily on Thursday also said Damir threatened to kill the Australian ambassador unless his perceived harassment ends.

"I've been hunted like a wild beast in Australia for all these years and this has to stop," he said. "They have ruined my family, my life, everything. Let the ambassador halt the witch-hunt against me and I will apologize publicly. If not, I will kill her.

"I know that Jelena has not said that I physically abused her. They have made it all up and she will sue them for it."

Dokic said before his arrest that he would sue the ambassador and the Australian government, Blic reported. He apparently said the death threats were made "in anger."

Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said police have an obligation to respond to any threats to foreign diplomats.