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Jelena Dokic's father Damir arrested

Last updated on: May 07, 2009 21:40 IST

Tennis prodigy Jelena Dokic's estranged father Damir was given a month's detention Thursday to investigate claims that he made death threats against the Australian ambassador in Belgrade, a judge said.

After local media quoted Dokic as saying he would "attack the ambassador and her husband with a stinger missile," Dokic was arrested Wednesday when police searched his house and said they found legally and illegally owned firearms.

"Dokic was heard at noon on (Thursday) in the presence of his lawyer and he denied he had made any threats to the Australian ambassador and her husband," Borislav Rakimic, an investigative district court judge, told Reuters.

"He has been given a mandatory period in custody of 30 days as we will now launch a procedure to get testimony from the ambassador and her staff," he added.

"Dokic claims he spoke only to the embassy's secretary and that he never threatened to harm anyone."

Police found two hand grenades and 20 bullets for which Dokic had no permit, in addition to seven hunting rifles and a handgun which he owned legally.

Dokic's alleged threats came after his daughter Jelena, once ranked fourth on the WTA tour and battling to rediscover her form, was quoted in Australia's Sports & Style magazine as describing the torment she endured under him.

ACRIMONIOUS RELATIONSHIP

The acrimonious relationship between father and daughter hit a new low in January at the Australian Open, when Jelena ruled out any chance of reconciliation.

She warned him not to bother contacting her after he had intended to go to Melbourne to watch her return to top-level tennis after several years in the wilderness.

Riding a wave of public support and sympathy in her run to the tournament's quarter-finals, Jelena produced the quality tennis that took her to the Wimbledon and Olympic Games semi-finals in 2000.

Their fallout began in 1999, when Damir was cautioned for drunk and disorderly behaviour at the Edgbaston tournament in England and then lay down in traffic outside the courts.

The following year, he scuffled with a television cameraman at the Australian Open and was evicted from Wimbledon, draped in an English flag, for causing disturbances and breaking a journalist's mobile phone.

He was kicked out of the US Open the same year and in 2001 he turned his back on his adopted country Australia, where he moved with his family from the former Yugoslavia in 1994, and returned to Serbia.

Jelena, whose career plummeted along with her ordeal and depression, split from her family in 2003 and returned to Australia a year later.

"I've been through a lot worse than anybody on the (professional tennis) tour. I can say that with confidence," she told Sports & Style. "There was a period where there was nothing that could make me happy. I wanted somebody else's life."

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