Jelena Dokic has revealed she’s been forced to endure nasty comments about her weight while commentating at this year’s Australian Open.
The former tennis ace, 37, has pleaded for people to leave her alone after she — like many people — put some weight on during Melbourne’s lockdown.
Dokic shared a side by side image of her appearance pre and post-COVID to Instagram and added a lengthy caption telling trolls to “GET OVER IT”.
“I am sharing this with you all because even though I have the best supporters in the world that send me thousands of messages of support, I have also received a few comments body shaming me and seen an article in the media about my weight and physical appearance,” Dokic wrote.
“I have always been honest with you all about my struggles and my weight battles. I have talked about my weight and not a lot of people have done that publicly.
“Now I am also going to be honest but I also feel like I need to address the negative attention around what people think I should look like.
“And here is my message to you, GET OVER IT.
“Leave me and my physical appearance alone. I really don’t know why people and the media have the need to comment on someone’s physical appearance, especially when it comes to women. You would never talk like that about a man, it’s always about women and their appearance.
“While I am nowhere near my heaviest, I am also completely honest about the fact that I have put some weight back on in the Melbourne lockdown. It was very hard mentally for me in the world’s toughest lockdown for six months and not being able to see my loved ones for 15 months.
“I have even had some depression and anxiety creep back up and it’s been a battle.
“To all the body-shamers, online trolls and the media that have body shamed me, you should be ashamed of yourselves. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
“How about a bit of kindness? How about a message asking me how I am doing? Instead of talking about my weight, why don’t you talk about all my accomplishments? Does my weight determine my worth?
“It’s so easy to judge others but why can’t people just be kind? We should be talking about inner beauty and not the shallow outside looks.
“Also, I could be pregnant or going thru something. You never know what battle someone is fighting.
“Put yourself in the person your insulting’s shoes and what they might be going thru. Imagine if it was your mother, sister or daughter being insulted.
“In saying that, I will continue to work hard on my fitness and my health because I want to feel better and fitter. Love you all.”
Dokic underwent an incredible physical transformation in late 2018 and early 2019, losing 38kg after reaching 120kg at her heaviest.
After being afraid to leave the house and turning down work opportunities because of her insecurity, she began a new chapter and shared it publicly in the hope of helping others.
“I thought I would brave the judgment, negativity and scrutiny that sometimes comes with being in the public eye and on social media and put myself and my struggles out there and hopefully inspire, motivate and help others, especially women,” she wrote at the time.
The 2000 Wimbledon semi-finalist lifted the lid on her early years in her autobiography Unbreakable, where she claimed her father would whip her with a belt if she failed on court.
She said her 2014 retirement left her feeling “lost” and saw her weight blow out on the back of emotional eating and a lack of structure when she left tennis.
“I was thrown into retirement not knowing what direction I wanted to go in,” Dokic said.
“I wasn’t prepared — that’s where my weight gain started.
“When you’re a professional athlete, you’re in this bubble that’s not reality — everything is done for you … training, food, travel, management, so going back into real life was very different.”
The release of her autobiography, where Dokic revealed the trauma she suffered at the hands of her father and her subsequent battles with depression, proved to be a cathartic experience and was a catalyst for her getting on top of her weight.
She is now happily engaged to long-time partner Tin Bikic and planning to get married and start a family.
“Marriage is on the list,” she told nowtolove.com.au this week.
“And while we’re not planning on having kids right now, it’s one of the things that is very important.”
“I want to raise my children very differently from how I was raised,” she added. “Having a family is definitely in the future.”