“I felt like there was a lot of things still to talk about and a lot of things that I was learning and I was still growing as a person,” she says of writing her second book.
“I know that this can have a positive impact on people. I have discovered the power of sharing our stories and speaking up not just for myself but for others. I see it every day. I see it in my talks, I see it in the people that I meet. If it even helps just one person that’s all that’s important to me at the end of the day. I really think this is my legacy and if I can help as many people as I possibly can, and to continue doing that for the rest of my life, then I will die a very happy person.”
As well as recovering, Dokic is discovering. Single since the heartbreaking split with Bikic early last year, she says she can now see a time when she will be ready to find love again. But not yet. For now she’s learning to love life and herself on her own.
“I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been to be honest,” she says. “I’m liking the way things are right now. I’m someone who has never even lived alone, so I’m liking that part and discovering it. It was a bit difficult at first but now I’m actually enjoying it. I like the way things are. I’m fully focussing on the things that I love, things I’ve never done before and so much work – which I love.
“I’m not shutting the door about finding love and being with someone because I do believe in it,” she adds. “I believe in love and I like being in a relationship and I like to be in love at a thousand miles an hour. I would love to be able to find that again, to be able to give that to someone. But if I’m being completely honest, I’m not ready for that. I’m OK with the way things are right now. I’m discovering every single day, more and more, about myself. Am I hopeful of finding love? Absolutely in the future – but just not right now.”
From living in fear to finding her voice to speak out, Dokic says much of her strength has come from her vulnerability. She has taken on the trolls and online commenters head-on when they came after her with slurs and venom about her weight gain. She applauds that body image activist Taryn Brumfitt is 2023’s Australian of the Year and will continue to take a stand against body-shaming. She will keep being fearless.
“There is strength in vulnerability – not just for myself,” she explains. “I think how you conquer fear is by being courageous and brave. I used the expression ‘fearless’ for my book because it’s a look on the court that you talk about when you’re a tennis player, so I kind of combined that as the tennis player and also the person who I am today.
“I’m still very proud of what I was able to do as an athlete, especially under the circumstances,” she adds. “A lot of times I was scared and I was afraid. I was afraid for my life, and not just from the abuse by my father but from my own mental health and almost committing suicide. But I feel I went through it by being brave and courageous and going through it fearlessly. If I wasn’t unbreakable and fearless and courageous and brave, I wouldn’t have been able to get through a lot of the things that happened.”
If you or anyone you know has been affected by the issues raised in this article, help is always available. For support, please call the Butterfly Foundation on 1800 334 673, 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732, or Lifeline on 13 11 14.