Player's Dad Tossed From Tourney

ByABC News

N E W   Y O R K, Aug. 31, 2000 -- The price of food at the U.S. Open led to anugly confrontation involving the father of 17-year-old JelenaDokic.

Damir Dokic was removed Wednesday from the grounds of theNational Tennis Center by security, amid a stream of curses andinsults, threatened with arrest and barred from the balance of thetournament. He could face additional sanctions from the WTA Tour.

The episode began when Dokic, eating lunch in the player’slounge, complained over being charged $10 for a piece of salmon,creating enough of a commotion to attract security. Within minutes,it escalated with Dokic escorted from the lounge by Pete Pistone,director of security for the Open, as he shouted “Idiots!” atUSTA officials.

At one point, he confronted a WTA official, gestured at hispocket and shouted, “You take big money from players!”

Nearly Arrested

After being ordered off the grounds once, Dolic returned withhis daughter in tears and ran into Pistone as he tried to enter theplayers entrance. Again, he was pushed away, with the USTA officialwarning him, “Leave right now or you’re under arrest.”

He was driven off in a tournament car, still shouting and wavingas the vehicle pulled away from the Tennis Center. His daughter wasscheduled to play her second-round match today.

Jay Snyder, tournament director of the Open, issued a statementsaying because of his abusive behavior in the lounge, Dokic wouldnot be permitted back for the remainder of the Grand Slam event.

Bart McGuire, CEO of the WTA Tour, concurred with the decision.

“Based on Mr. Dokic’s past history of such incidents, a formalreview is being conducted to determine what additional action willbe taken,” McGuire said. “The tour will announce its decisionshortly after the U.S. Open.”

Troubled Past

Dokic got into trouble at Wimbledon, where he was detained bypolice after smashing a reporter’s cell phone following a ramblinginterview in which he declared “The Queen is on the side ofdemocracy and the rest of the country is fascist.” He alsogestured obscenely at an American female reporter while makingderogatory comments about President Clinton.

At the Australian Open, he accused officials of rigging drawsagainst his daughter and threatened briefly to pull her off theAustralian Olympic team.

Jelena Dokic, who lives in Sydney, has threatened to boycott thegames unless she is allowed to live at home, wear her sponsor’sclothing instead of the team uniform and has her father accreditedas her coach.

In 1999, Dokic was ejected from a tournament in Birmingham,England, after calling match officials “Nazis.” He later wentinto the street outside the club, blocked traffic and jumped on thehood of a car and was arrested.

Defends Actions

In an interview with the Daily News on Tuesday, Dokic defendedhis behavior.

“I don’t make problems,” the father told the newspaper.“Others make problems. If you make something bad to me, I react.But it has to stop. it must stop. It’s no good for Jelena. She canbe one of the best players. She can be like the Williams sisters.She can be (Steffi) Graf.”

According to eyewitnesses Wednesday, Dokic got into an argumentwith server Mattie Jones, who has been working at the Open since1988. She said he objected to the size of his portion and calledher a cow.

“I called my manager,” Jones said. “I wasn’t going to bedisrespected by anybody. He was so arrogant, so nasty, I didn’twant to serve him.”

Dokic’s daughter, who was clearly upset by the affair, isscheduled to play Miriam Oremans today.