Tennis: Commentator Dokic hits out at ‘evil and disgusting’ body-shaming trolls at Australian Open

Player-turned commentator Jelena Dokic (right) said she had repeatedly come in for online abuse over her weight. PHOTO: AFP

MELBOURNE - Player-turned-commentator Jelena Dokic lashed out on Monday at the “disgusting” body-shaming she has endured online while working at the Australian Open.

The Australian, who rose to a career-high world No. 4 ranking in 2002, has been conducting on-air interviews at Melbourne Park after players win matches.

But the 39-year-old, who has been open in the past about her experiences with family violence and mental health, said she had repeatedly come in for online abuse over her weight.

“The ‘body shaming’ and ‘fat shaming’ over the last 24 hours has been insane,” she wrote on Instagram. She said it came from all over the world, but particularly Serbia. She was born in Croatia and has a Serbian father.

“And, yes, a lot of them are women, too. So much for ‘women supporting women’,” she added.

Dokic, who last year revealed she nearly committed suicide, said the abuse was “evil and disgusting”.

“The most common comment being ‘what happened to her, she is so big’?” she wrote.

“I will tell you what happened, I am finding a way and surviving and fighting. And it really doesn’t matter what I am doing and what happened because size shouldn’t matter.

“What matters is your online abuse, bullying and fat shaming. That’s what matters because those of you that do it are just evil, bad, mean and ignorant people.”

Dokic sprang to prominence at Wimbledon in 1999 when she stunned world No. 1 Martina Hingis in the first round.

She won six WTA singles titles during her career and reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon in 2000, but struggled for years to escape the influence of her volatile father, Damir.

They endured a well-documented split and she tumbled down the rankings.

The family rift followed a series of bizarre episodes, including Damir being banned from the All England Club at Wimbledon and, at one point, claiming his daughter had been kidnapped.

Meanwhile, Aryna Sabalenka eased into the quarter-finals for the first time to establish herself as a favourite for the title on Monday.

But fourth seed Caroline Garcia was bundled out and 17-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova’s dream run was brought to an end.

World No. 45 Magda Linette ensured Poland would be represented in the last eight despite world No. 1 Iga Swiatek’s exit by stunning Garcia 7-6, (7-3), 6-4, while Croatia’s 64th-ranked Donna Vekic held her nerve to down Fruhvirtova 6-2, 1-6, 6-3.

Vekic will next play Sabalenka and 30-year-old Linette will take on Czech former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova, who breezed past China’s Zhang Shuai 6-0, 6-4 on Kia Arena.

Said Pliskova: “I think Sabalenka is a big favourite of this half (of the draw).

“She’s always going to be tough because she has a big game.

“Then the rest, (Jessica) Pegula, I think she’s playing great tennis.

“I’m happy she’s in the other part of the draw.” AFP, REUTERS

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