Some players keep it in the family

Hingis, Dokic stay loyal in face of parental bans

July 01, 2000|By Bill Glauber | Bill Glauber,SUN FOREIGN STAFF

WIMBLEDON, England - It was parental pat-on-the-back day at Wimbledon yesterday as tennis teens went out of their way to laud their moms and dads.

First up in the interview room was Martina Hingis, the No. 1 player in the women's game who is coached, molded and shaped by her mother, Melanie Molitor.

It seems that Hingis isn't all that thrilled with the WTA rule that bans coaches and parents from the locker rooms. Under the locker-room rules instituted this year, Hingis' mother sustains a double-edged whammy, kept outside as both parent and coach.

"It will definitely be nice to have her in there, as it wasn't a problem in the past," Hingis said after routing Silvija Talaja, 6-2, 6-2.

She doesn't support the new rules "because sometimes you don't have any locker rooms for the ladies' coaches. Where should they shower after their practice, or whatever?

"But right now, there's nothing I can do. But definitely I'm trying to. It's not only my mom who is the coach. We'll have to figure out something else."

Hingis said that when she sees her mom in the locker room, "I talk to her in a certain way that she's my coach."

She admitted that, in the past, there were sometimes too many people in the women's locker rooms.

"You have a match, there are like 15 people who don't have anything to do in the ladies' locker room," she said. "That may have been a problem."

Next up in the interview room was Jelena Dokic, who teamed with Jennifer Capriati to win a doubles match.

But nobody was there to talk to Dokic about doubles. Reporters wanted to know how she felt about Thursday's antics when her father, Damir, smashed a television reporter's mobile phone and was escorted by police from the All England Club's prim and proper grounds.

Photos and stories about the bizarre event dominated the tabloids, with one headline reading, "Mad Dad Dokic Is Back in Dock."

An All England Club spokesman said, "We will be monitoring the conduct of Mr. Dokic closely. Should this again fall below acceptable standards, it would lead to Mr. Dokic being banned from the grounds."

Bart McGuire, CEO of the WTA Tour, said he supported the club's statement and said the tour "will be reviewing the situation separately and will take appropriate action, if necessary, once the facts are clear."

It was clear that it would be tough to get in any penetrating questions to Jelena Dokic when a Wimbledon staffer opened the news conference with: "Can I just say prior to the start that we're answering questions on tennis matters only. Can we keep questions to tennis-related matters?"

Three questions in, Dokic was asked how she felt about the events surrounding her father. Fault.

"We're taking questions on tennis matters," the moderator said.

"My dad is a big influence on me and my tennis," Dokic eventually said. "He knows my game more than anybody else. He knows me more than anybody else. I like having him around. He's somebody that I can work with. He's on the court always with me. We do things together."

Asked whether parental influence on players is good or bad, she said, "I have a great relationship with my dad," adding, "I like having him around. Doesn't bother me at all."

Later, she said her father "knows me better than anybody else. I need somebody like that, who knows me, knows my game, can help me with it. You know, no matter who I'm working with, he's a hundred percent there on the court, looks after what I'm doing."

She was asked one last question on whether her father was a hard taskmaster.

"I think I push myself more than anybody else," she said. "I work hard, work on everything. I think I've been taught to do that, as well. I don't think I can go any other way but working hard. He's like that, as well. Whether it's a practice court or a match, I give 110 percent everywhere. I think that's just the way I am."

NOTE: Anne-Gaelle Sidot of France said Alexandra Stevenson's mother lied about a practice-court problem that reportedly occurred in Strasbourg, France.

Sidot acknowledged yesterday that she tugged on Samantha Stevenson's hat but denied the charges that her boyfriend tried to intimidate the young American. "It's a lie," Sidot said after losing her third-round Wimbledon match to Tamarine Tanasugarn, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.

"Never, never, never, never. She said so many wrong things, so I'm not surprised that she said another thing."

On Thursday, Alexandra Stevenson accused another French player, Amelie Cocheteux, of cursing her and using a racial slur.

Cocheteux denied the accusation.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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