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Molik says Dokic move a stunt

By AINSLEY PAVEY

Australian tennis player Alicia Molik believes the ostracised father of Fed Cup teammate Jelena Dokic may have another agenda for taking his family back to Yugoslavia.

Molik suggested Damir Dokic's plans to take his daughter and the rest of the family to Belgrade was a publicity stunt.

The volatile father of the world No.26 is banned from his daughter's matches until April because of unruly behavior and various clashes with tennis officials.

He confirmed yesterday the family would return to Belgrade in February and blamed Australian tennis officials and the media for driving them back.

The move has sent shockwaves through Tennis Australia, which is seeking direct talks with the Dokics to try to convince the former world junior No.1 to stay.

But Molik said Tennis Australia could take most of the credit for Dokic's success and she condemned the teen's father for attracting bad publicity.

"It's always a possibility that it's a publicity stunt," Molik said at the launch of next month's Australian women's hardcourt titles on the Gold Coast.

"To be honest, I think Jelena is going to stay in Australia and I think the only reason that they say they're going to move to Belgrade is so that Mr Dokic can have every reporter asking why and how and when and that's exactly what he wants.

"Jelena is the top female tennis player in Australia, so she is going to get a lot of the attention which she deserves, but Mr Dokic just takes away from her and her tennis.

"Tennis Australia have done their job, they've given Jelena what she wants and they've helped her out, so all the Dokics have to do to Tennis Australia is thank them."

While Australia may lose its top Fed Cup player if Dokic left, Molik said her teammate went with her blessing.

"Obviously we're going to lose our top Fed Cup player, but I don't think I'll be losing sleep over it," she said.

"It is a difficult situation that she is in with her family and the controversy. I only wish the best for her and hope that she keeps enjoying her tennis, but I think it would be very difficult to enjoy right now."

Meanwhile, Tennis Australia president Geoff Pollard confirmed today he wanted to talk directly to the Dokics to keep the issue out of the media.

He said Dokic, who vowed she would never play for Australia again after the Olympics where she made the semi-finals, had played with distinction for Australia at the Fed Cup and Olympics.

"As soon as I know what our program is for the Fed Cup, then is the appropriate time to ask her the question," he said.

"Tennis Australia has helped Jelena over the years as best we can through coaching, overseas tours, tournaments, wildcards and that's what we're here for.

"We're pleased that she has developed into one of the top players in the world and would like to keep helping her."

- AAP