Trigger warning: This article contains details of depression and suicide and may be distressing for some readers.
She’s one of the country’s biggest tennis legends but Jelena Dokic is prioritising her mental health.
On Tuesday evening, the former Grand Slam finalist took to Instagram to share a lengthy message informing fans that she has taken a break from social media, confessing she’s going through “a really tough period” in her life.
Jelena began her message: “Hi everyone!! I am sure you have all noticed that I have been absent from social media for a while now.
“Thank you for all your messages of concern and care for me. I really appreciate it.”
She continued: “I am going through a very tough period in my life right now and a huge change and I just need some time to recover. Heal and process the pain and trauma that I am going through.
Jelena added that she has seen the messages sent through by fans, and though she is appreciative is “not in a good space right now to reply” as she usually does, explaining she will be staying off Instagram for “a little while longer”.
“I know so many of you look forward to my posts and find so much inspiration in them and I am so sorry I can’t provide that for you right now,” she wrote.
“And to those that have told me that in person and stopped me on the street to tell me how much I and my posts inspire you. Thank you.”
“To my friends and all the people close to me that know what I am going through. Thank you for all your love and care. Don’t know what I would do without you and you know who you are.”
The former tennis champ ended her message with one of hope, promising fans she will return after her social media break.
“I will be back and I will be back stronger than ever even if it doesn’t feel like that right now but I will be back,” Jelena wrote.
“I always am and I know the sun will shine again. Thank you for your understanding. Hope you all had a great Christmas and I wish you all a happy new year. Love you all.”
Fans congratulated Jelena for her openness and brave decision.
“Fill up your cup beautiful woman! Everyone is cheering for you!” Studio 10 host Sarah Harris commented beneath the post.
Silvana Philippoussis, wife to tennis champ Mark Philippoussis assured: “My heart- thinking of you…sending lots of love ❤️ Here if I can help in any way. Big love always.”
TV personality Catriona Rowntree also shared a sweet message, writing: “Rightio, you take a rest, I hope we will be seeing you for the Aus Tennis, you’re the best, either way, you just do you and the world will keep turning. 👏”
The Croatian-born tennis player made headlines in 2017 when she published her memoir Unbreakable, in which she detailed the horrific abuse she endured at the expense of her father.
“I always hold out hope that he will change and that things can be different, especially with family, but there has to be compromise which he isn’t willing to do,” she previously told The Weekly in 2018.
“It’s hurtful to me that he’s never been able to say sorry. As I get older and as I get closer, hopefully, to having my own family, I don’t have the space and time for people like that in my life. I’ve turned that page. I sleep well at night. I reached out to him and tried to make things better but he didn’t want that and that’s on him now.”
Jelena has also spoken openly about her mental health struggles, telling Good Health and Wellbeing that she’d battled depression for over a decade and attempted suicide.
“When I do get anxious or down, I take time out and focus on myself. I try to listen to what my body is telling me and that has really helped,” she explained.
“But it’s not about doing it perfectly every day, you might fall here and there, but you just get back up.”
If you or someone you know has been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, help is always available. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14.