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SYDNEY 2000 / SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES

Dokic's Father Gets 6-Month Ban

September 16, 2000|LISA DILLMAN

SYDNEY, Australia — The Women's Tennis Assn. finally took some form of action against Damir Dokic--banning the controversial tennis father and coach from the tour for six months--but it isn't nearly as harsh as it may appear.

The ban starts Oct. 2 and continues until March 31. Very little tennis of any significance is played in the last two months of the year and Dokic will miss only one Grand Slam event, the Australian Open in January. Dokic, the father of Australian teenage star Jelena, has created problems and has had outbursts at three of the last four Grand Slam events.

"Our concern is the public verbal abuse and threatening behavior is detrimental to the game, our tournament staff, to the events, and other people associated with those events," Bart McGuire, CEO of the WTA tour, said in a statement.

"It is also troubling that Mr. Dokic's daughter, Jelena, has, on repeated occasions, been a witness to the incidents involving her father. The tour hopes Mr. Dokic will consider the consequences of his actions and the effects they have. We feel strongly that this decision is in the best interests of the game."

Damir Dokic was sent off the grounds at Wimbledon after he smashed the cellular phone of a reporter and made an obscene gesture on the balcony and other disorderly behavior. At the U.S. Open last month, he was kicked out when he verbally abused a worker over the price of salmon in the players' dining area.

At the Olympics, he has not been given a credential and will need to buy a ticket to watch his daughter play.

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