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Caught on tape

Dokic's father scuffles with cameraman

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Posted: Wednesday January 19, 2000 10:52 AM

  Jelena Dokic Jelena Dokic lost her first-round match against Rita Kuti Kis at the Australian Open. Adam Pretty/Allsport

MELBOURNE, Australia (Reuters) -- The father of troubled Australian tennis star Jelena Dokic scuffled with a television cameraman on Wednesday before offering him cash to hand over a tape of the incident.

The incident with the Seven Network camera crew blew up two days after Dokic was beaten in the first round of the Australian Open in Melbourne by unheralded Hungarian Rita Kuti Kis.

Television footage showed Damir Dokic had broken a microphone off a camera before police ordered him to give it back.

The incident occurred when father and daughter were filmed leaving their Melbourne hotel and walking along a suburban street.

Clearly upset at the presence of the crew, Damir was shown striking out at the cameraman. A Seven Network reporter later said Damir offered them A$500 (US$330) for the tape.

After the scuffle Damir is heard on television saying: "Give me tape... 500 for tape."

The pair were targeted by the crew after Jelena told a local newspaper that tennis officials were conspiring against her following another incident involving her father last year.

On that occasion, Damir was arrested outside a tournament in England.

The Serbian-born father had to be physically removed from the stands by security guards after shouting at spectators and officials during his daughter's match in Birmingham.

He then threw himself into the middle of the road, lying down in the path of oncoming traffic, before he was taken away by police who cautioned him for drunk and disorderly behavior.

Later that month, his daughter pulled off one of the biggest upsets in recent Wimbledon history when she beat world number one Martina Hingis in the first round.

She went on to reach the quarterfinals but has done little since, losing in the first round at both the U.S. and Australian Opens.

Her recent failures were compounded on Monday when she turned up four hours late for a news conference then churlishly described her victorious opponent, Hungary's Rita Kuti Kis, as someone who "has never been a player and never will be." Refusing to apologize, she then accused tennis officials of tampering with draws to ensure she meets tough opponents -- an accusation the Womens Tennis Associtaion emphatically denied.

The WTA said Jelena Dokic could face disciplinary action over her accusations. The president of Tennis Australia said he also wanted to speak with her.

Damir accused the WTA of acting like police when they fined her US$2,500 for turning up late for her mandatory news conference.


 
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