The tennis community has condemned the actions of a father in Serbia, after video went viral of the man allegedly assaulting his 14-year-old daughter during a training session.
Nine commentator Jelena Dokic said she felt “sick” and “heartbroken” after watching the footage, while Australian player Daria Saville said the teenager would be “broken forever”.
The gruesome footage shows a man kicking and punching the girl, before throwing her to the ground and punching her again.
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Dokic, who shared his own experiences at the hands of an abusive father in his powerful autobiography Unbreakable, called the man a “monster”.
“I feel sick, threw up and heartbroken after watching this,” Dokic wrote on social media.
“Do you think it’s brutal? It is, but it’s a normal day for many of us who have been or are being abused, especially as children.
“Hitting, pulling our ears, spitting in our faces, throwing us on the ground, punching and kicking us. Just another day for us and that includes this 14-year-old girl.
“Imagine what happens behind closed doors. It’s even worse.”
Reports from Serbia suggest the man has been arrested and charged with domestic violence offences.
Serbian media reports that the man could face between two and 10 years in prison if found guilty.
“That’s exactly why I talked about it and wrote about it,” Dokic wrote.
“I’ve always said I wasn’t the first nor the last to experience this, but my question now is ‘have things changed in the way our sport and our society deal with this?
“And that poor girl. Who will speak of her and protect her?
“I’ll tell you from personal experience. No one.”
Andy Murray’s mother Judy, herself a successful tennis coach, wrote: “Horrible example of parental physical abuse in junior tennis.”
The man who shared the footage online, Croatian actor Igor Juric, told Nine’s Today he did not hesitate to draw attention to the actions of the father.
“I knew the video would go viral and that’s why I posted it,” he said.
“I was fully aware that it could also harm the girl who is abused in the video, but I chose the lesser evil.
“When I say lesser evil, it was important for me that the institutions and citizens of Serbia understand how much this girl is suffering.
“We have to do something serious to stop it. I hope it will trigger a change in our country.”
Belgrade Tennis Association President Milan Slavković said in a translated statement that the father’s actions were appalling.
“We strongly condemn the violence on the tennis court that occurred during training,” he said.
“We have learned that this is a case of (alleged) domestic violence, since the perpetrator is the father of a young tennis player.
“We are cooperating with the relevant authority to have this case closed as soon as possible.”
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